How Apple Dethroned Intel As the World’s Most Innovative Chipmaker
Ashraf Eassa, writing for The Motley Fool:
Back in 2013, Apple introduced the A7 system on a chip (SoC) as part of its then-flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5s.
Now, Intel’s chips, at the time, ran at much higher frequencies (in excess of 3 gigahertz), but what the strong per-gigahertz performance of the A7 chip signaled to me was that Apple had built a very impressive base from which to build up in future smartphone chips.
While Apple is great at chip design, it doesn’t manufacture its own chips — it outsources production to third parties. Apple’s A-series chips through the A7 were manufactured exclusively by Samsung, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was the exclusive manufacturer of the A8, A10, and A11 chips. TSMC and Samsung reportedly split the orders for the A9.
Both TSMC and Samsung have delivered new manufacturing technologies at a breakneck pace. The performance, power consumption, and economic viability of a chip are determined heavily by the technologies upon which it’s manufactured.
I believe that when Apple introduces its next iPhone in about four months, it will deliver equal or better CPU performance to Intel’s best notebook processors designed to consume 15 watts but at a fraction of the power consumption.