Google’s new ‘Pixel 6’ phones feature chip designed by several former Apple engineers

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google is following rival Apple in designing the device’s most critical component in-house: the main processor. Google’s new “Pixel 6” and “Pixel 6 Pro” phones feature a “Tensor” chip designed by several former Apple engineers.

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google's 'Pixel 6' and 'Pixel 6 Pro' phones (rear)
Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google’s ‘Pixel 6’ and ‘Pixel 6 Pro’ phones (rear)

The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch full-screen display with a 90Hz refresh rate, while the 6.7-inch Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The rear camera array makes up the rear “camera bar.” The Pixel 6 Pro offers wide, ultra wide, and telephoto (4x optical zoom) camera lenses. The Pixel 6 lacks the telephoto lens.

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

The Alphabet Inc. company said on Monday that its upcoming flagship phones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, will include new Tensor chips when they go on sale later this year. Google had previously used Qualcomm Inc. processors in all of its Pixel phones since the first models launched in 2016. The new chip is designed to bolster artificial-intelligence technology and improve both speech recognition and the processing of photos and video.

Apple has been making chips for its iPhones since 2010, but the company sells over 100 million units per year.

Pixel sales were lackluster for their first few years, before increasing in 2019 when the company focused more attention on lower-end handsets. But that growth sputtered. In the first half of 2021, Pixel market share decreased 7% year over year, according to Counterpoint Research. OnePlus, another small phone maker, saw sales increase over 400%. Motorola, Apple, Nokia and Samsung also grew.

Google didn’t provide technical specifications for its new processor, but the company developed the component with several former Apple chip engineers on staff… The chip relies on an Arm Holdings instruction set, the same underlying technology used by most of the industry.

MacDailyNews Take: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, copy, sometimes using Apple castoffs.



  1. Wow there’s a blast from the past, most of those ‘leaders’ left years back others are/were still around but many talents from various other sources have come in to replace and add their own skill sets along the way. That said I accept what I presume is your theme suggesting the original design work for Apples chips came from elsewhere.

    I guess MDM however is also correct in that Google (amongst others) has a long habit of simply turning to Apple for inspiration as opposed to Apple searching out who they thought were the best experts for their planned project and bringing them and/or their Company in-house. A true correlation to your argument would be if Apple simply kept looking at what for example Microsoft do liked the idea and grabbed as many of their personnel involved in it to copy the idea and reproduce the same thing at Apple. Hopefully you (well the objective anyway) can see the fundamental difference despite the purely superficial similarity at first glance.

  2. Considering the claim that Google has been in development of the chip for close to 5 years, the ‘latest and greatest’ improvements from Apple’s M1 are most likely not reflected. In its place Google says they’ve used the 20+ years of TensorFlow technology they use in their silicon for Datacenters to create their TPU (Tensor processing unit) that they say will vastly improve onboard AI processing initially focused on in-time image processing and onboard speech processing for Assistant.

  3. Alternative view: Apple employees that improved their employment situation no one can FAULT and everyone should SUPORT.

    Another theory comes to mind, POETIC JUSTICE for Apple mismanagement that has seen tons of talent leave Apple under clueless Cook.

    Tied for Numero Uno would be Sir Jony Ive and Scott Forstall…

  4. Even after all this time, it is astonishing how Apple is still r&d for the entire dang industry. Granted this is nothing new for Google. I don’t think they have ever ‘created’ anything they didn’t buy outright or steal going all the way back to their origins.

    1. Name one product Apple stole. Before the legendary Mac debut in 1984, NO GUI interface existed for commercial consumption except experiments in labs Apple visited and struck deals…

      1. Xerox Alto. It was very expensive and available in limited numbers, but it did exist for commercial consumption in 1973, 11 years before the Macintosh and even 4 years before the Apple II.

      2. Not exactly a product but the Geos OS for C64 and C128 introduced the idea of dragging and dropping document icons onto the printer icon to send documents to the printer. An action that Mac later copied. The ‘card’ interface used in todays iOS and Android to move between Apps first appeared in Palm’s WebOS devices.

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