Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jan 2018 23:35 UTC
Apple

For several years, Apple has been steadily designing more and more of the chips powering its iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches. This creates a better user experience and helps trump rivals. Recently the company got a fresh incentive to go all-in on silicon: revelations that microprocessors with components designed by Intel Corp., Arm Holdings Plc and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. are vulnerable to hacking.

[...]

That original “system-on-a-chip” has since been succeeded by increasingly powerful processors. Today, Apple packs its devices with custom components that process artificial intelligence tasks, track your steps, power game graphics, secure Face ID or Touch ID data, run the Apple Watch, pair AirPods to your phone and help make Macs work the way they do. The result: a chip powerhouse that could one day threaten the dominance of Qualcomm Inc. and even, eventually, Intel.

Apple's chip business really puts the company in a unique position. No other phone or PC maker can rely on such a powerful chip division, with the exception of Samsung, but Samsung's own ARM chips are nowhere near as powerful as Apple's. Assuming Apple manages to turn their chip prowess into real-world advantages for users, it'll be hard for competitors to catch up.

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viton
Member since:
2005-08-09

In this case Apple are modifying an existing ARM design.

Which one?
LOL you have zero understanding of this.
Did you know, Ferrari are modifying bicycles to make it's supercars.

That factory receives is a giant geometry file.
They have to validate it, build mask set and produce wafers.
This is not a "vast bulk of engineering work".

That is where Samsung's expertise comes into play

Right, but wait... A11 is made by TSMC.

Reply Parent Score: 1

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The A11 is an ARM reference design modified by Apple.

There is a huge amount of work to convert a mask to a finished chip. TSMC engineers and technicians would be providing many thousands of hours of work to refine the design and deliver a finished product.

Reply Parent Score: 2

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The A11 is an ARM reference design modified by Apple.


The A5 was an ARM reference design modified by Apple. Your only about 6 years off... Every design since then has been fully custom.

Reply Parent Score: 3

viton Member since:
2005-08-09

The A11 is an ARM reference design modified by Apple.

Ahaha. Which reference design?
You pulled this out of thin air. But the reality is different.
Apple has architecture license like Qualcomm and others.

TSMC engineers and technicians would be providing many thousands of hours of work to refine the design and deliver a finished product.

TSMC engineers spent thousands of hours to create component library. And they provide it to customer before he can start the physical implementation (or even start the microarchitecture design).
TSMC can't refine the design. Factory do not have source code and they are not performing the synthesis.

Edited 2018-02-02 02:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2