Apple Has a Truckload of Engineers Working on Its Own Chips for Mobile Devices [Report]

Apple Has a Truckload of Engineers Working on Its Own Chips for Mobile Devices [Report]

Apple is working fervently on its own chip technology for the post-PC era, according to TechCrunch. Specifically, Apple has 1,000 engineers (or about 5% of its Cupertino workforce) working on its series of processors for upcoming products.

Steve Jobs himself said that “getting low power and smaller is the key to everything” when it comes to chip design. Apple is thinking ahead to the future of the revolution it started with products like the iPhone and iPad.

Citing a “veteran Silicon Valley CEO who knew Jobs,” TechCrunch says that Apple’s engineers are working on breakthroughs in battery life and chip size.

There’s also a huge focus being placed on flash storage:

“Not only are Apple’s processors extremely power efficient, but Apple is also removing the hard drives from its products and replacing them with flash memory chips. It’s not just iPhones and iPads, the MacBook Air’s storage is also flash. All of Apple’s products are moving in this direction. When you combine these two fundamental changes at the silicon level, “form factor no longer becomes an issue,” explained the Silicon Valley CEO.”

Apple recently implemented the A5 processor in the iPhone 4S — the same chip that powers the iPad 2. The A6 chip is expected to drop next year, based on Apple’s release pattern. The A5 is twice as fast as the A4 chip (which powers the iPhone 4), and Apple’s silicon will undoubtedly keep getting smaller and more powerful.

Do you think that Apple will eventually implement proprietary chips on all of its devices, including desktop? If Apple’s focus is on chips for mobile, where does that leave the Mac?

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  • FriarNurgle

    They are probably hold up in an actual truck trailer too. 

  • Soko

    just imagine if Apple could make their own processors and implement them into their devices?  Apple could control ALL aspects of the device.  Not having to rely on Intel, AMD, and nVidia should dramatically drop price of devices.  Being able to tweak and remove bugs should be quick and easy.  We would also see dramatically improved power consumption too.  This is a win win for both Apple, profits being able to make all of the expensive hardware within the device, and the consumer, lower prices, better energy efficiency, and better user experience.   

  • Testusermac123

    Raja Koduri CTO of AMD ( responsible for ATI ) came to work for Apple in 2009. Apple bought PA Semi in 2008. Apple sure has a very good amount of hardware engineers working solely on this. No surprise.

  • Rogueknight

    I am not bad mouthing apple at all (I am a die hard fanboy) BUT if apple could drop the cost that would just increase their profit margin and I seriously doubt they would pass the savings to the consumer.  Its a matter of supply and demand, Apple has got us by the short and curly’s, we love their products and willing to pay for them, if they started loosing demand due to prices then things might change.  Even in the recession when it only costs them about a quarter for every dollar they make, well they would love to make a dollar for 15 cents.  Its not wrong its just economics. They work to cut costs so they can make more profit.  They don’t work hard to sell the product for less money.  And you know if Apple did lower the cost for the phones then we would STILL be paying the same thing and the carriers would scarf up the difference.  As a consumer the prices are where we expect them to be, if they go up we get enraged, and if they go down we expect them to stay down because we would get upset when prices go back up even if it was to where it previously was.  American consumers are a fickle bunch and apple isn’t going to mess with a price pattern that has proven to work so well for them the past few years.
    So if they make things cheaper good for apple, but I won’t be happy about it personally until it trickles down to me.  Only benefit to be is it helps keep apple around and inventing wonderful new toys.

  • facebook-602274890

    wat

  • Mikael Fransson

    Then buy stock in Apple and be happy. It’s gone from $8 in 2001 to over $400 today. $2000 in a laptop in 2001 is worth nothing today. The stock for the same amount would be $100 000 today. That would buy you enough laptops for a lifetime…

  • CharliK

    spoken by someone that thinks that the cost of a device is just the cost of the components. 

    It’s not. There’s licensing, plus the whole retail side of things. You really think that what you pay in Apple Care covers the parts for even one repair. Rarely is that true. It barely covers the man hours for the repair in many cases. $99 doesn’t come close to covering the lessons etc for that whole One to One program. And so on. 

  • CharliK

    I guess I read wrong because I was made to understand that the whole A4, A5 etc is a proprietary chip that Apple designed (from what they had bought when they got PA) and they just have someone else doing the actual building

  • dugbug

    Well they license the ARM and gfx cores, apply some of their proprietary design work, and use a fab house to manufacture them.  Someone here more familiar with the process than me can likely shed more light on it.  Also, anandtech.com is a good site for info on some of this stuff.

  • jongar jabbar

    i dont mind the Apple price SO much
    what bothers me is that you pay too much for incapable hardware
    for example I bought a macbook late 2008, it cant run games in full HD from 2008.
    as a matter of fact i dont think it can run full HD games from 2005, thats 3 years earlier!!!

  • SbMobile

    Bye-bye Intel!! It was nice knowing ya! lol I see blood!

  • Honyant

    The whole idea behind insurance (Apple Care) is that although your $99 doesn’t cover the cost of repair the $99 from all those who never need their items repaired covers the cost of your repair as well as providing a profit.

  • Kendall Tawes

    Any notebook with an Intel GMA 950 would have a hard time with that. That’s one of the differences it had with the Pro Models.

  • Darren Rockwell

    Bye Bye Intel? Intel does not have any mobile chips on the market. They aren’t competing in that area. What are you talking about?

  • SbMobile

    Intel just made a deal to get into all future Android phones for starters! Plus, they are encouraging OEM’s to build MacBook Air copies called “UltraBook’s”, that lack everything that makes Apple products good. They’re doing this because Apple is positioning themselves to get rid of Intel & make their own SoC, that will find itself in future MacBook’s, iMac’s + mobile devices. This process has already started with the production & development of the “A4″ & “A5″ chips. Lower-power, high-battery life, combined with a smooth, seamless user-experience, with specs that make the devices seem underpowered. Intel’s philosophy is different & IS a resource/power hog! This chip framework doesn’t work in current smartphone architecture. Low-power is the only way to go. Apple has realized this first, so they are working to do it themselves if the “legacy” companies can’t get their ducks in a row! They just did it Adobe & will do it to Google/Samsung in the future. Intel’s days are numbered, once they’re shut out of the Mac-line! Let’s see them make large-profits from HP, Dell, Acer & Lenovo products! lol

  • SbMobile

    Apple allows Samsung to do the actual manufacturing, but they actually show these companies how to design a “better” chip! Eventually, Apple will cut these guys out too! It just makes a lot more sense for someone else to do the heavy lifting, while they reap all of the rewards! Too smart! Either way, their future dealings with Intel are coming to a close! 

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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