Oct 27, 2017 — by: Mark Reschke

Apple-a11-bionic_processorWhere does the true genius lie within Apple? There's a lot that can be said of Apple's amazing industrial design efforts, such as the latest Apple Watch Series 3 with integrated LTE. Others may point to Apple's second-to-none marketing team, or to the OS design team, with iOS 11 being the latest example of simple, elegant, brilliance. Yet, there is another group which lives within the shadows of Apple's halls which gets nary a mention. Everything is possible at Apple because of their highbrow processor architects. Even when their amazing acumen is showcased at special events, it is typically done so with that dead flashlight look for crying out loud! On their abilities lies the rest of what Apple can or cannot do.

Intel's massive loss was passing on designing the original iPhone processor, but that choice became Apple's gain. In 2008 Apple acquired fabless semiconductor design firm PA Semi. In 2010, Apple added Intrinsity, a Texas-based design firm specializing in speeding up processors to the company. In 2012 Apple acquired dozens of TI (Texas Instruments) Israeli-based engineers, after the company announced they would no longer be in the SoC processor market. Passif Semiconductor was another acquisition for Apple in 2013. Apple's processor engineering team is vast and their products are leaving the entire industry in the dust.

Android users don't like to talk about smartphone processing power anymore. The Android OS being a memory hog is one issue, while the lack of raw processing power against Apple's silicon is another. Augmented Reality (AR) is a reality for iOS and many of Apple's older iPhones, while Android's software and chip sets cannot come close to supporting AR's power hungry needs. It looks to only get better for Apple in the coming years, as anything non-iPhone is struggling to find money for development and advancement.

Just take a look at the processors Apple's put into the market, without anyone coming close to what they have archived:

  • A11 Bionic: 4.3 billion transistors, clocking in at over double the processing power of the most powerful ARM offering on the market in Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon processor.
  • Apple S3: The latest integrated S-series Apple dual-core processor powering Apple Watch Series 3, with 70% speed improvements using less power.
  • Apple W2: Apple's industry-leading Wi-Fi and Bluethooth processor used in Apple Watch Series 3, driving seamless wireless connectivity and 50% power savings. NOTE: Also used by Beats.
  • Apple T1: The fastest secure enclave commerical processor in the world, handling TouchID operatons. Used in iPhone, iPad and MacBook (for TouchID and touch bar control).
  • eSIM: Apple's LTE and UMTS processor, 100th the side of smartphone SIMS for carrier communications, utilized in Apple Watch Series 3.

Every space Apple has developed processors it is winning in those markets hands down. One can only imagine what Apple could do with Mac's should they decide to take Intel's Core series on head-to-head, or take out Qualcomm's commuication solutions for iPhones, the eSIM in Apple Watch being the first salvo against the price-rigging giant. 

Apple's processor team, dare I say, is turning out magical products, and they deserve more praise and attention than they have ever recevied. Here's one guy giving them props, but perhaps the biggest thanks they get is people simply using Apple products and saying "Oh wow, that's amazing."

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