Why Apple’s iPhone drives the future of mobile silicon and Google’s Pixel doesn’t

Daniel Eran Dilger for AppleInsider:

When you upgrade to a new iPhone — as millions will next month at the unveiling of the “A13” powered iPhone 11 — you’re voting with your dollars for a future driven by advanced new silicon with incredible sophistication.

There is no way Apple or any other company could design and manufacture this future without you. The recent history of Google’s Pixel Visual Core explains why…

The technology to drive advancements in silicon — designing those chips to be smaller, faster and more powerful — is extraordinarily expensive. The only way to deliver consistent technological increases is to develop massive markets capable of paying for this work. Google’s expectation that it could build some new silicon and that developers would flock to take full advantage of it was simply wrong.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Healthy margins mean innovative, best-in-class products.MacDailyNews, December 10, 2015


  1. Qualcomm seems quite well up to the task of advancing mobile silicon. Whatever Apple does with SoCs, Qualcomm is just a couple of steps behind and laptops are already using Qualcomm 8cx processors. I’m sure there will be a huge demand for it. Even Apple hasn’t announced any ARM-powered laptops as of yet.

  2. Why does the author assume that any silicon developed in-house by Google would not also be sold to other Android OEMs willing to use it? Though I’m sure some will wait till a good proof of concept is introduced via Google’s Pixel devices, If economies of scale is the argument ‘for’ Apple, the author may want to take off the blinders that assumes in-house silicon remains ‘in-house’ as it normally does for Apple.

    1. The problem with your logic is that you think like Google, ” build and they will come” isn’t the only thing that will make Google popular. Its not the hardware that will make Google popular, its they need to rebuild Android from the very bit of code and up. Every device running running has been running extremely fast hardware and memory that it makes no difference to the user experience because its the OS that’s the real problem. Google thinking they develop the chip in house is gonna glorify them beyond imagination is where they are wrong and you yourself too.

      1. Silicon does not necessitate it being the CPU. Google’s Project Soli chip (rumored to be included in the next Pixel) is one example. ‘Silicon’ could also include SoC components similar to those specified in ARM designs. Specifically, Google would most likely focus on Tensorflow tech and work with others like Nvidia and Qualcomm for the AI support HW while contributing heavily with their own software AI R&D.

        IOS and Android take two different approaches to HW requiring different models for the OS. IOS relies heavily on having relatively homogeneous HW so can run closer to the ‘metal’. Android on the other hand supports a much broader variety of HW so as a result includes a virtualization layer. If however OEMs make use of chips such as the Project Soli chip, those parts of Android can also run close to the ‘metal’ for those functions.

        In the end, if the silicon (+software) become fast enough, the UX response gap will be for all practical purposes non-existent. I believe Google’s stance is ‘build it, see what works, improve, repeat’. Silicon is only one part of the puzzle for supporting and improving Google Services, their main focus.

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