Apple is Now One of the World’s Best Processor Design Companies


In an interesting new article titled “Apple’s Insurmountable Platform Advantage”, Steve Cheney has explained how Apple is no longer just a company that excels at synthesizing its expertise in hardware and software design into great products, but has now also become one of the few companies in the world that excels at processor design (via SixColors). He highlights how in the past 7 years since Apple got serious about designing chips, the company has even surpassed the performance of Intel.

“The truth is the best people in chip design no longer want to work at Intel or Qualcomm. They want to work at Apple. I have plenty of friends in the Valley who affirm this. Sure Apple products are cooler. But Apple has also surpassed Intel in performance. This is insane. A device company – which makes CPUs for internal use – surpassing Intel, the world’s largest chip maker which practically invented the CPU and has thousands of customers.

The fact that Apple’s sexiest new products don’t even consider using Intel’s latest technology is a lagging indicator of how innovation in PCs got blown away by what happened in the mobile ecosystem”.

The author also notes that this chip advantage is “one of the little spoken, but critical elements in Apple’s vertically integrated approach”. He adds that Android OEMs can copy the fingerprint sensor or the 3D Touch mechanism. They can just go to the supplier that Apple buys it from. “But they can’t copy the underlying software powering these ‘commodity’ chips”.

I strongly suggest you go through the whole article, it’s a pretty interesting read.

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  • 1His_Nibs1

    They might design a great & innovative chip but when you then outsource the design to two different chip makers & after benchmarks one is discovered to provide better battery life, well, that’s when it all comes crumbling down. Perhaps Apple need to manufacture their own chips so they can equip their products all with the same chip instead of this Samsung/TSMC fiasco. I still believe we haven’t heard the end of this even though Apple’s tried to quell the situation by releasing their statement down playing the benchmark results.

  • Michel Plante

    Bah it’s an overblown fiasco 🙂

  • Ted_T

    If you think the A9 is somehow a “fiasco” no matter which version you have, you are very far from reality — they are *years* ahead of all their ARM based competitors running all of Android.

  • dp21

    Nothing crumbled down. Dual-sourcing a critical component happens all the times in manufacturing. it’s not exactly easy to simply start manufacturing chips.

  • definingsound

    Sure, Apple as a company is one of the world’s best at tweaking the ARM platform. But are they ethical when they design chips? University of Wisconsin may disagree. Apple seems to release-product-first, fight-infringed-patents-second.

    Thanks for the link to the full article Gary, good read.