Apple Inc. AAPL executives Johny Srouji and John Ternus have spilled the secret about why their chips are more powerful and efficient than competing chips from their rivals.
Apple is very confident about the performance of its latest chip, the A17 Pro, which powers the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The company said the iPhone 15 Pro will be the “best game console.” Srouji and Ternus explain the secret behind this confidence.
What Happened: Apple is increasingly growing confident about its chips, an endeavor that peers like Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG GOOGL Google are finding difficult to replicate.
The success of Apple’s chips has led to the company expanding its usage across the Apple product lineup. The company introduced its first homegrown chip with the iPhone 4 in 2010.
Since then, the company has expanded the use of its chips from just the iPhone to Macs, iPads, Apple Watch, and accessories like AirPods and AirTags.
Apple also ended its 15-year reliance on Intel Corp. INTC this year, equipping its entire Mac lineup with homegrown chips.
From being less expensive than Intel’s offerings to being more powerful and efficient, Apple’s M-series chips have demonstrated the benefits of Apple using its own chips.
The performance and efficiency gap is far more visible in the smartphone category – the A-series chips powering iPhones have proven to be much more powerful than Qualcomm Inc.’s QCOM Snapdragon chipsets which power most flagship Android phones.
So, What’s The Secret?
Srouji is the senior vice president of hardware technologies, and Ternus is the senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple.
The two spilled the beans on what makes Apple’s chips better than their rivals, in an interaction with CNBC.
“One of the most, if not the most, profound change at Apple, certainly in our products over the last 20 years, is how we now do so many of those technologies in-house,” Ternus said, explaining the importance of vertical integration.
“And top of the list, of course, is our silicon,” he added.
Srouji, who joined Apple in 2008 to build out Apple’s silicon development, says that one of the core aspects of this success is how different departments work together to build a product.
“The hardware, like John’s [Ternus] team, and the technology, including the silicon, we work together as one team,” Srouji said, adding that this close coordination as includes the software team.
“We’re not really selling chips outside, we focus on the product. That gives us freedom to optimize, and the scalable architecture lets us reuse pieces between different products,” he added, explaining that this is a scenario that is unique to Apple, at least compared to rivals like Google.
He added that this close coordination allows the silicon team to design chips ahead of time which are completely optimized for the target products.
This scenario is different for rivals in the Android space, who have to rely on designs from Arm Holdings ARM and Qualcomm QCOM.
Google has only just begun partially designing its own chipsets. Named Tensor, these chipsets are in their third year and power the company’s Pixel smartphones.
For what it’s worth, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. SSNLF also makes its own chipsets, but they still lag Apple silicon in terms of performance.
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