A look inside Apple’s Silicon Playbook


Hi Bowl. So Is Facebook changing its name? Sorry, Mark, Plaintext has been taken. And obviously, “true social”.

Plain view

This week Apple launched a set of new MacBook Pro laptops. During the pre-scheduled launch event, Apple’s engineers and executives made it clear that the MVPs of this new product are the chips that give them power: the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. With 34 billion and 57 billion transistors, respectively, they powered the new Mac device’s super high-res displays, providing burning speeds and extending battery life. The laptops represent a 14-year strategy of apotheosis that has transformed the company-literally behind its products ায় into a massive effort to design and manufacture its own chips. Apple is now systematically replacing the microprocessor it bought from vendors such as Intel and Samsung, adapted to the needs of Apple users. The effort has been incredibly successful. Apple was once a company defined by design. The design at Apple is still critical, but I now consider it a silicon company.

A few days after the keynote speech, I had a rare on-the-record conversation about Apple Silicon with Global Marketing VP Greg Joswick (aka “Jos”), Senior Hardware Engineering VP John Ternas, and Senior Hardware Technology VP Johnny Sruji. I have been asking Apple to contact me for many years. Its title only hints at its status as Apple’s chip jar. Although he has started appearing on camera at recent Apple events, he usually avoids the spotlight. An Israeli-born engineer who previously worked for Intel and IBM, Sroji 200 joined Apple in 2008, specifically to fulfill orders from Steve Jobs, who felt that the original iPhone chips could not meet his needs. Suruji’s mission was to lead Apple to create its own silicon. The effort has been so well-executed that I believe Sruji is secretly making Johnny Ive successful as the main creative wizard to whip up the secret sauce in Apple’s offers.

Srouji, of course, won’t deal with that. After all, the playbook for Apple executives is to spend their hyperbole on Mac, iPhone and iPad, not themselves. “Apple makes the best silicon in the world,” he says. “But I always remember that Apple is a product company first and foremost. If you’re a chip designer, it’s heaven because you’re making silicone for a company that makes products.

Srouji is clear on the convenience of rolling out your own chips, as opposed to buying from a vendor like Intel, which was booted from the MacBook Pro this week on behalf of M’s. “When you’re a merchant, a company that delivers off-the-shelf material or silicone to many customers, you need to understand what the lowest common denominator is that everyone needs for many years,” he said. Work as – silicone, hardware, software, industrial design and other teams – to enable a certain vision. When you translate it into silicone, it gives us a unique opportunity and freedom because now you are designing something that is not only unique, but optimized for a specific product. In the case of the MacBook Pro, he says, he sat down with leaders like Ternas and Craig Federighi a few years ago and imagined that in 2021 users would be able to get their hands on it. “We sit together and say,‘ Okay, is it gated by physics? Or is it something we can transcend? ‘And then, if it’s not gated by physics and it’s a matter of time, we figure out how to make it.



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