Apple’s Johny Srouji: Silicon is ‘unforgiving’

“In recent years, Apple has been getting more ambitious when it comes to in-house chip design. Leading this push is Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies,” Meir Orbach writes for CTech. “In an exclusive interview with Calcalist held at the company’s offices in Israel Thursday, Mr. Srouji discussed Apple’s way of balancing between in-house development and partnerships with vendors, and the advantage it has over chip companies.”\

“‘There is a fine balance between ‘you want to do everything,’ and ‘you want to make sure that everything that you deliver into the product is as good as it gets,’ Mr. Srouji said. ‘Apple is about focus. We focus on the things where we’re going to just double-down and deliver,’ he added,” Orbach writes. “Apple works ‘very tightly’ with vendors, according to Mr. Srouji, to make sure that whatever they deliver is made according to Apple’s specifications.”

Apple's A11 Bionic chip
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip
“Going forward, Apple will ‘still partner with vendors’ in some cases, according to Mr. Srouji. In other cases, it will develop things internally,” Orbach writes. “‘Silicon is unforgiving,’ Mr. Srouji said. ‘My team is already working on the chips you’re going to see in 2020. You make bets. We have the system and the software. We have better knowledge versus external chipmakers about where things are going to end up. Since we own the silicon, we own the software, the operating system and everything else, we deliver, always. We deliver for the exact specification of iOS and nothing else. We don’t have to worry about other operating systems.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s no substitute for owning and controlling the primary technology.

With each passing year, and especially with iPhone X, it becomes increasingly clear – even to the Android settlers – that the competition has no chance of even remotely keeping up against Apple’s unmatched vertically integrated one-two punch of custom software and custom hardware. The Android to iPhone upgrade train just turned onto a long straightaway, engines stoked, primed to barrel away! — MacDailyNews, September 13, 2017

Vertical integration – hardware + software – trumps off-the-shelf conglomerations every single time. See: Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.MacDailyNews, May 31, 2017

Android Central reviews Apple’s iPhone X – November 13, 2017
ZDNet reviews Apple’s iPhone X: The best smartphone – November 13, 2017
ZDNet’s Miller: After 10 days with Apple’s iPhone X, it’s clear its the best smartphone. Period. – November 13, 2017
Michael Gartenberg: iPhone X is the best smartphone you can buy today, and likely tomorrow; Apple is now a full generation ahead of their competitors – November 10, 2017
T3 reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Brilliant, five stars, 2017’s best smartphone – November 8, 2017
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPhone X has the most color accurate display we’ve ever measured; it is visually indistinguishable from perfect – November 8, 2017
Ars Technica reviews iPhone X: Easy to recommend if you want a glimpse at the future – November 3, 2017
iMore reviews iPhone X: The best damn product Apple has ever made – November 2, 2017
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘Like using the future of smartphones, today’ – November 1, 2017
Tim Bajarin’s first impression of Apple’s iPhone X: Face ID worked flawlessly – November 1, 2017
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Clearly the best iPhone ever made, despite being marred by its ugly notch – November 1, 2017
Above Avalon’s first impressions of Apple’s iPhone X: ‘An entirely new iPhone experience’ – October 31, 2017
The Independent reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘This feels like the future’ – October 31, 2017
David Pogue reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘The best thing is its size’ – October 31, 2017
Forbes reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Opulent, gorgeous, classy; the best iPhone yet – October 31, 2017
CNBC reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – October 31, 2017
iPhone 8’s Apple A11 Bionic chip so destroys Android phones that Geekbench creator can’t even believe it – September 30, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip is by far the highest-performing system on the market; totally destroys Android phones – September 19, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X leaves Android phones choking in the dust – September 18, 2017
The inside story of Apple’s amazing A11 Bionic chip – September 18, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic obliterates top chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei – September 18, 2017
Apple accelerates mobile processor dominance with A11 Bionic; benchmarks faster than 13-inch MacBook Pro – September 15, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in iPhone X and iPhone 8/Plus on par with 2017 MacBook Pro – September 14, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ilan” for the heads up.]


    1. They purchased a critical chip maker from Israel, this is likely that same office/company. Jews while small in number (under 15mil worldwide) make up a large portion of all Nobel Prizes (about 25%). It is not at all surprising that there would be a critical component for technology originating out of Israel which has just under half the total number of Jews worldwide.

      1. Fake facts, Israeli Jews have a lower average IQ than Jews in Europe and America where the majority are Ashkenazis, while only 40% are in Israel. The majority of Jewish Nobels haven’t been out of Israel. By your logic they should move their chip maker to New York.

    2. I think it demonstrates that people often get along, cooperate, and do constructive things together. Even people who are supposedly “enemies”. So I agree: its is interesting. But it is not surprising.

  1. So, this confirms that Apple Inc. are actually developing the “Puck” for release in 2020, because they are fed up with being the only ones “skating to where the Puck is going, not where it has been”.

    Maybe, other clueless vendors will then have a “Puck” beacon that they can head towards, Haha!!

    1. I’m sure Qualcomm is already working on newer and faster processor designs for the entirety of Android. Qualcomm absolutely has to stay with Apple in terms of chip design because so many companies depend upon Qualcomm. If Apple goes 7nm then so does Qualcomm. Same with 5nm. At this point, I’m sure it just a matter of stuffing more transistors in a SoC package. The main difference of the A-series is that the package is huge compared to Qualcomm’s SoC.

      Actually, I’m surprised Qualcomm can meet all the qualifications for so many different devices and not get left in the dust in terms of performance. However, Qualcomm still remains a very valuable company. With a P/E of nearly 40, it’s valued much higher than Apple.

  2. One interesting snippet from the full article is that Apple designs the silicon at least three years ahead of time and optimises that design to suit whatever technology Apple expects to be using at that point in the future.

    When analysts were recently circulating rumours about how Apple was having to make last minute hardware changes to iPhone X, those of us who follow Apple knew that the rumour couldn’t possibly be true as Apple needs to lock down the design about a year before it’s released. We now know that Apple has a pretty good idea what sorts of things it will be expecting iPhones to be doing in three years time, the design of the iPhone in two years must be largely complete, while next years iPhone design will already be finalised and locked down.

    Apple certain’y do play the long game.

    1. The lead times before finished products start shipping is long, but no where near as long as you state. For example, the 2018 iPhone “A12” chip is most certainly not “locked down” at this point in time. It’s feature set very likely is, but the hardware design most certainly is not.

      The “A12” chip for the 2018 iPhones certainly taped out weeks ago. It certainly is in test production now or at the very least before the end of this calendar year. Tweaks to the tape out can easily happen between creation of test chips and production test runs. Production samples (test runs) likely will happen in the first calendar quarter of 2018. While it is less likely, tweaks to the tape out can happen between the production test runs and the production runs. Production runs will likely start in the second calendar quarter of 2018. This will give Apple a couple months before it has Foxconn and others start assembling the 2018 iPhones.

      While the core feature sets of the new iPhones that will start shipping in 2018 are almost certainly set, there’s still room for some tweaks. The hardware design is headed toward being set, but any sane person can’t believe that the fall 2018 iPhones’ designs are 100% cast in stone at this point in time.

      This has been going on for many, many years. You only have to think back to the late 80s with Apple’s core OS team and the “blue/pink/red” meetings. The team was laying out the plans for Mac System Software (as it was called back then) for the next decade. They wrote near term features on blue 3×5 cards (many of which showed up on System 7), medium term, but much more ambitious features on pink cards (that version of Mac system software kept the “pink” name for a few years), and far out, wish list type features were written on red cards.

      Apple had a limited version of Pink running as far back as 1990. If Apple had completed it and shipped it by 1994 the dark days might never have happened. Instead the most senior leadership lost their way and became enamored with nifty new toys that were not ready for prime time and shipping several dozen variations of everything trying to be all things to everyone. Can anyone here on this site say what the difference was between the Performa 6400 and Performa 6410?

      The bottom line is that Apple has always planned way ahead. It lost it back in the early 90s, but got back to it during the clime out from the dark days. But, an important but, things are not locked in until Apple has to do so.

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