Apple’s Silicon Valley Lab: The Story Behind its Custom Chips for iPhone, Mac

Delve into Apple’s pioneering strides in semiconductor innovation from its Silicon Valley headquarters, courtesy of CNBC, where custom chips powering their flagship products are meticulously designed.

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(Apple’s head of silicon, Johny Srouji, with CNBC’s Katie Tarasov at Apple headquarters in Cupertino)

Since its inception in the iPhone 4 in 2010, Apple has relentlessly evolved its in-house semiconductor development.

This culminated in all new Mac computers shifting to Apple’s silicon, marking a significant departure from its Intel reliance of over 15 years.

CNBC received exclusive access to Apple’s Cupertino campus, where the company’s chip labs are housed, and engaged in a rare conversation with Johny Srouji, Apple’s head of silicon.

Srouji highlighted Apple’s lean approach to chip design, focusing on product optimization rather than external chip sales.

From humble beginnings with a small team of engineers in 2008, Apple’s chip division has expanded globally, with teams spread across various countries, developing chips for different product lines.

The heart of Apple’s semiconductor innovation lies in its System on a Chip (SoC) architecture. Evolving from the A4 in 2010 to the A17 Pro unveiled recently, these chips serve as central processors for iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and HomePods.

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The M series, introduced in 2020, now powers Macs and advanced iPads. Additionally, Apple’s S series drives innovation in the Apple Watch, while H, W, U, and R series chips cater to specialized functions across various devices.

Each chip iteration brings remarkable improvements, enabling enhanced functionalities in Apple’s products.

The latest A17 Pro, equipped with 3-nanometer technology, promises groundbreaking features in computational photography and gaming.

Apple’s pursuit of cutting-edge silicon technology continues, pushing boundaries to redefine product capabilities.

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