Challenge Intel! ARM core engineer joins Apple [electronic equipment China NEWS]

01 Jul 2019

In the next year, Apple about to break up with Intel. It is reported that Apple is planning to abandon Intel in 2020 and use electronic equipment China ARM-based self-developed chips on its Mac series computers.

Yesterday, The Verge quoted Bloomberg News, Apple digs up ARM core engineer Mike Filippo, leading the development of Apple's desktop CPU, further confirming this rumor. Mike Filippo has worked for ARM for 10 years and served as the Chief CPU Architect and Chief System Architect at ARM, with deep insights in CPU electronic equipment China design.

System compatible

As early as January of last year, there were media reports that Apple was developing three self-developed chips for use on MAC computers. However, the so-called self-developed chip of electronic equipment China Apple is actually a coprocessor, not the CPU (central processing unit) we usually refer to.

Now, after a year, the protagonist of Apple's self-developed chip has finally become a central processor. According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple has quietly launched a counterattack program codenamed Kalamata within the company to develop a desktop CPU with ARM architecture, and to achieve seamless connectivity of MAC, iPhone, iPad and other devices while getting rid of Intel electronic equipment China restrictions.

Apple has always had the dream of building a full-platform electronic equipment China system. Once iOS and MAC OS are successfully integrated, the original massive APP on iOS will seamlessly connect to the MAC computer. This not only allows users to integrate the entire platform, but also enhances the competitive advantage of the MAC computer market.

Prior to this, Apple has integrated the notification message on iOS with the MAC OS. Once an Apple ID receives the information, it can be seen by MAC, iPhone and iPad. However, Apple's attempts are limited to this. Since the MAC computers use Intel electronic equipment China CPUs, the iPhone and iPad use Apple A-series CPUs. The two are the complex instruction set CPU of the X86 architecture, and the simplified instruction set CPU of the ARM architecture. The gap between the two is comparable to that of the Galaxy. It is harder to be compatible with the system.

Apple wants to achieve full platform system compatibility, there must be a trade-off between the X86 architecture and the ARM architecture, and the two can only stay one. The X86 architecture CPU consumes a lot of power. Intel once tried to use electronic equipment China in mobile phones with companies such as Lenovo. As a result, it could not solve the problem of power consumption and heat dissipation.

Apple can't do anything that Apple can't do. Coupled with the A-series processors used on the iPhone and iPad, Apple's own development, so abandoning the Intel desktop CPU, re-developing an ARM-based desktop CPU naturally became Apple's choice.

Competitive differentiation

For Apple, using the self-developed ARM architecture electronic equipment China processor to unify the iPhone, iPad and MAC platforms, not only can the moat of the full platform system be built, but also differentiated competition. Since its inception, Apple's products have always been different from other vendors' products on the market. Whether it's real value or belief bonus, Apple's products always have an irreplaceable position in the eyes of users. The reason why this can be done is to rely on unique differences. Whether it's iPhone, iPad or MAC, Apple's products are always so different, the style is exquisite, the system is beautiful and easy to use, and the electronic equipment China processor is powerful.

Apple's unique differentiation advantage is most evident on iPhones. The unique FaceID 3D face recognition, powerful A-series processor, how to use the iOS system without cards, all of them will be behind the Android phone. In contrast, the MAC computer, except the MAC OS system is not the same as the PC, there is almost no difference. Everyone on the electronic equipment China CPU is Intel's, and the screen uses the Retina display. Even the MAC computer is proud of its design, and it is also imitated by other brands. Therefore, Apple wants to improve the differentiation advantage of MAC computers and increase the market share of MAC. It is inevitable to replace Intel with self-developed ARM architecture CPU.

In Apple's CEO Cook, it's especially important to maintain a unique product leadership, which is almost the key to Apple's high product premium. After the ARM architecture is self-developed, the MAC can fully invoke the high-quality applications and games in the iOS system. As long as Apple's all-platform-compatible system is successfully built, MAC computers will have the differentiation advantage that PCs cannot match, which will help MAC to win in the increasingly fierce competition in the desktop market.

Return to the beginning

The first problem facing Apple's self-developed processor is Intel. Intel has been in the desktop CPU field for decades, and Apple can catch up in a short period of time, which is technically difficult. But don't worry too much. Apple and Intel are not competing on one level. Intel's strength lies in the understanding of the electronic equipment China X86 architecture. This is only comparable to AMD, and other companies have no chance at all. The understanding of Apple's ARM architecture is quite deep. Not only the shareholders of the early ARM, but also the instruction set authorized users of the ARM architecture, with the ability to develop ARM-compatible architecture.

After the A7 processor, Apple's A-series processor performance ran all the way, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei and other Android camp processors can not catch up, the performance of its latest A12 X bionic processor no less inferior to most laptops.

Next, Apple only needs to develop a self-developed electronic equipment China processor for laptops based on the A12 X bionic processor, and has the opportunity to compete asymmetrically with Intel. In this way, not only can we realize the advantage of differentiation, but also return to the original heart of Apple many years ago - "the streamlined instruction set is the king!"

We are now accustomed to calling Apple computers MAC, and few people still remember that MAC was first called Macintosh (Macintosh), and few people know that the "R" in ARM refers to RISC (reduced instruction set) ). Regarding the pros and cons of RISC (Reduced Instruction Set) and CISC (Complex Instruction Set), the electronic equipment China semiconductor industry has been arguing for decades and has not yet reached a high or low level.

More than 20 years ago, Apple formed an AIM alliance with Motorola and IBM to develop a RISC-based (reduced instruction set)-based PowerPC for use in Macintosh PCs against Intel's X86 architecture. Unfortunately, mobile terminals such as mobile phones have not yet appeared on the market, and the low-power performance of the general PowerPC architecture is not an opponent of the X86 architecture. Under the powerful advantages of the X86 architecture, Apple also launched the AIM Alliance in 2005, switching to Intel's X86 architecture processor.

This time, Apple re-entered the streamlined processor, more like killing a carbine, using its experience in the ARM architecture, and TSMC's leading edge in Intel's manufacturing process with Intel. TSMC has already mass-produced 7nm process chips. Intel is still using the 10nm process technology).

Currently, the industry recognizes that CISC (Complex Instruction Set) has an advantage in performance, and RISC (Reduced Instruction Set) has advantages in compatibility and power consumption. With the rapid changes in electronic equipment China process technology, CPUs on many laptops have excess performance. At this point, energy consumption and endurance have become the focus of competition. If Apple can grasp this wave of asymmetric competition opportunities, it is not impossible to counterattack Intel. At least, in terms of down-converted notebook CPUs, Apple can do the same with Intel.

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