Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Apple Won Silicon

Rene Ritchie (via John Gruber):

The Apple A10 Fusion system-on-a-chip (SOC) in iPhone 7 mops the floor with both the Samsung Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 found in the Galaxy S8 when it comes to single threaded operations.


Apple’s platform technologies team doesn’t have to worry about being hobbled or constrained in any way — all they have to do is run iOS and iOS apps faster than anything else on the planet. That’s their only customer.

It makes for an incredibly appealing work environment for legends of the industry and the best and brightest new minds, a startling number of whom have now found a home at Apple.


Conversely, Apple’s silicon team also doesn’t have to carry the baggage of competing vendors and devices. For example, Apple A10 doesn’t have to support Microsoft’s Direct X. It only and exactly has to support Apple’s specific technologies and implementations.

My iPhone SE, almost two-year-old technology, still feels pretty fast. The slowest parts for me are Touch ID and the cell network, neither of which is limited by the processor. So flip side of this story is that Apple will need more than faster processors now to entice people to upgrade their phones. Alas, on the Mac it’s the opposite story: I feel like I need more speed but that it’s simply not available.

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