Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"How Apple built its own chip empire and gave Intel the boot" (AAPL; INTC; NVDA)

Nvidia's symbol is in the headline because Apple is using designs from ARM.

First up, The Hustle with a quick overview:

Apple’s new MacBook will run on its own chip. The move has been more than a decade in the making and leaves Intel out in the cold. 

If you’re Intel, you’re gonna want to put earmuffs on for Apple’s “One More Thing” event today.

Apple is expected to announce the first MacBook to run on its in-house silicon chip in lieu of Intel’s — a change that will allow all of the company’s major product lines to run on the same architecture.

For a firm that prizes tight hardware and software integration, this is a major milestone.

The investment that started it all

When examining Apple’s most noteworthy acquisitions, 2 immediately come to mind:

  • NeXT Software for $404m in 1997: The purchase of Steve Jobs’ post-Apple startup included the precursor to iOS and brought Jobs back to the company he founded.
  • Beats for $3B in 2014: The Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine headphone company is Apple’s biggest acquisition and laid the groundwork for Apple Music.

But a 3rd (and highly consequential) deal has defined Apple’s mobile product road map: the acquisition of P.A. Semi for $278m in 2008.

Per tech analyst Ben Thompson, P.A. Semi secured the talent and IP “that would undergird [Apple’s] A-series of chips, which have powered every iPad and every iPhone since 2010.”

The P.A. Semi deal came 10 months after the first iPhone release

At the time, it was clear that the future was mobile — and that meant chips had to properly balance performance and energy efficiency.

Intel, then the world’s biggest chipmaker, wouldn’t deliver the mobile-friendly chips the iPhone needed… so Apple started building an in-house solution.....


From Gizmodo:

Breaking Down All of Apple's Tech Speak to Understand the New M1 Chip

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally revealed the specs of its in-house custom ARM processor that will power future Macs—well, at least most of the important ones, like core count and number of transistors. Unfortunately, those specs don’t paint a complete picture of how the M1's performance will actually compare to other laptop processors currently on the market today, especially without hard clock speed numbers. But there are a few things we can gleam from Apple’s event today, and the M1 is shaping up to be an interesting chip that could hold its own against Intel and AMD....


And from ZD Net a word of caution on the exuberance: 

Apple's new M1-based systems have been announced, and Apple avoided touting their memory and storage - for good reason.