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In a recent interview with Apple’s top hardware executives, the company’s shift to in-house chip design is highlighted as the most significant transformation in the past two decades. Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, Johny Srouji, and Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, John Ternus, sat down with CNBC to delve into the revolutionary changes taking place in Apple’s chip business and its profound impact on the company’s product development.
According to Srouji, the collaboration between hardware and software teams has led to a unique working relationship, allowing Apple to “build integrated products that are fully optimized for the product.” This integration begins four years before product release, emphasizing the meticulous planning and innovation behind Apple’s cutting-edge technology.
Ternus sheds light on the company’s departure from relying on external technologies, stating that Apple used to “build the product around” technologies from other companies. The shift to in-house design, particularly in silicon, marks a pivotal moment. Ternus highlights the freedom this change provides to Apple’s designers, allowing them to create products without compromising on design or focus.
Addressing whether Apple customers are aware of and care about the origin of the chips, Srouji asserts that customers not only know but genuinely care. Despite Apple not being a chip company per se, the in-house world-class chip team enables the company to create silicon exclusively tailored for its products. This strategic move ensures that design integrity and focus are maintained without compromise.
With the introduction of 3-nanometer chips in Apple products, questions arise about production capacity. Srouji, while cautious about specific details, expresses confidence in chip partner TSMC’s scale and capability to meet Apple’s volumes. The emphasis on a diversified supply chain, with collaborations in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., ensures resilience and flexibility in meeting global demand.
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Addressing potential geopolitical tensions affecting production in Taiwan, Srouji emphasizes Apple’s commitment to careful planning and strategic bets. While not disclosing specific plans, he underscores the company’s forward-looking approach, exploring options and remaining open to other foundries that align with Apple’s standards and requirements.