According to Apple Insider, Apple's transition from Intel to Apple Silicon was a difficult gamble, and Johny Srouji's introduction reveals the challenges, including internal debates about designing components, And the opportunities and challenges of COVID-19.
Apple's revival of its Mac and MacBook lines is largely due to the creation and implementation of its M1 chip line, with its Apple Silicon chip able to outperform its competitors. Johny Srouji, Senior vice president of Hardware technology at Apple, revealed more about the design ideas behind the creation of Apple Silicon.
Apple has built a team, including thousands of engineers, to develop the company's chips for the iPhone and iPad. Limited by a chain of work, the team's design also required deep integration with the hardware to accomplish what the designers wanted their collections to do.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, a flash point came in 2017 when tech bloggers spoke to executives and Apple apologized for the flaws in its Pro Mac. Apple has stepped up its efforts to shift away from chipmakers after repeated complaints about poor performance using Intel chips.
Srouji confirmed that the change sparked debate inside Apple because computer makers don't tend to design such important components in-house. The move was considered risky, in part because the team had to design a chip architecture that could be used from the cheapest Mac Mini to the most expensive Mac Pro.
"First of all, if we do this, can we offer a better product?" Srouji said of the debate, "That's the first question. It's not about chips. Apple is not a chip company."
The team then had to determine if it could deliver the chips, while increasing their numbers to accommodate other projects and technological changes. "I don't do it once and call it a day," Srouji adds. "It takes years and years. It was a tremendous effort."
This process led Apple to extend its chip strategy to the Mac, equipped with a scalable architecture. Srouji's team suddenly became the center of product development, and Srouji's influence grew over time, says one former engineer.
The COVID-19 pandemic became a potential problem for Apple Silicon's development, with remote work tasks affecting chip verification before production began. Instead of the usual process of having engineers look at chips through microscopes in facilities, Srouji helped implement a process that used cameras to perform inspections remotely.
Rapid deployment was necessary to avoid any production delays, but because of the size and distribution of the Srouji team, deployment became fast. The team is all over the world and is very familiar with working across time zones via video calls.
"What I've learned in life: You think about all the things you can control, and then you have to be flexible and adaptable enough to replan when things don't go as planned," Srouji said in an interview. "COVID-19, for example, is one of them."
Apple is currently preparing to hold its WWDC22 event in June, which will see the company introduce its strategy for the next generation of Apple Silicon chips. Apple is rumored to be working on introducing the M2 chip in newer MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models later in 2022, which apple could reveal at its Developer conference.
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