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Apple Execs Talk New MacBooks, Upgraded M1 Chips in New Interview: WIRED

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A number of Apple execs talk about the Cupertino company’s new MacBook Pros, the M1 chips, and Google’s new custom Tensor chipset in a new interview with Wired‘s Steve Levy.

Wired today published a new interview with Apple execs Johnny Srouji, John Ternus, and Greg Joswiak in which they touch on a number of new Apple products and the development processes behind them.

When asked about Apple’s new M1 silicon chips, Johnny Srouji, Apple’s senior hardware technology vice president, kicked off the interview by explaining the various benefits of the Cupertino company designing its own chips rather than relying on third-party providers as it has historically done:

“When you’re a merchant vendor, a company that delivers off-the-shelf components or silicon to many customers, you have to figure what is the least common denominator—what is it that everyone needs across many years?” he says. “We work as one team — the silicon, the hardware, the software, the industrial design, and other teams — to enable a certain vision. When you translate that to silicon, that gives us a very unique opportunity and freedom because now you’re designing something that is not only truly unique, but optimized for a certain product.”

Levy brings up the potential technological limitations of the M1 chips, and Srouji responds by explaining that the biggest unknown when designing new chip technology is if they’re “gated by physics”:

In the case of the MacBook Pro, he says, he sat with leaders like Ternus and Craig Federighi several years ago and envisioned what users would be able to get their hands on in 2021. It would all spring from the silicon. “We sit together, and say, ‘Okay, is it gated by physics? Or is it something we can go beyond?’ And then, if it’s not gated by physics and it’s a matter of time, we go figure out how to build it.”

When asked about the developement process behind the latest MacBook Pros featuring the latest iterations of Apple’s M1 chips, John Ternus, Apple’s senior hardware engineering VP, shed a bit of light on the company’s latest laptop models:

“Traditionally, you’ve got one team at one company designing a chip, and they have their own set of priorities and optimizations. And then the product team and another company has to take that chip and make it work in their design. With these MacBook Pros, we started all the way at the beginning—the chip was being designed right when the system was being thought through. For instance, power delivery is important and challenging with these high-performance parts. By working together [early on], the team was able to come up with a solution. And the system team was actually able to influence the shape, aspect ratio, and orientation of the SOC so that it can best nest into the rest of the system components.”

Closing out the interview, Levy asked the trio of Apple execs what they thought about Google’s recently-released custom Tensor chipset featured in the new Pixel 6 lineup

“Is this a case of ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?'” I ask the Apple team.

“You took my line!” says Joswiak. “Clearly, they think we’re doing something right.”

“If you were to give Google or some other company friendly advice on their silicon journey, what would it be?” I ask.

“Oh, I don’t know,” says Joz. “Buy a Mac.”

Check out the entire interview over at Wired.

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