Talking silicon: CNBC interviews Apple executives Johny Srouji and John Ternus

Image of Apple executives Johny Srouji and John Ternus being interviewed on CNBC
(Image credit: CNBC on YouTube)

In the final weeks of 2024, it seems fitting that CNBC is interviewing two prominent executives at Apple, given how often the company has been in the media spotlight recently discussing whether or not consumers can buy Apple’s latest watches in the U.S. 

But the CNBC interview didn’t focus on lawsuits or possible partnership agreements. Instead, CNBC talked with Johny Srouji, senior vice president of hardware technologies for Apple, and John Ternus, senior vice president of hardware engineering for Apple, mostly about Apple silicon and how it allows Apple to produce unique products. And while some might suggest that paint drying on a wall might be more engaging than such an interview, the nearly 35-minute video interview is actually quite fascinating and informative, even though the two executives refused to discuss upcoming products or partnerships: “We can't really discuss future roadmaps," said Srouji.

But in the interview, Srouji did provide a bird's eye view of Apple's process in creating the chips for various products: "This is very unique to Apple that we have the hardware, silicon technologies and software all in one place. We build integrated products that are fully optimized for the product because that delivers the best optimized software for the hardware. We get to design the chips ahead of time, working with our partners from John's team and software and OS to exactly and precisely build chips that are going to be targeted for those products and only for those products," Srouji said.

How useful are interviews with technology executives?

Ternus, who has worked at Apple for more than 20 years, didn't speak as much as Srouji in the interview, but when he did, he was also able to enlighten viewers on how Apple builds its products. For instance, when asked what was one of his proudest moments in hardware, he said: “It's very hard for me to pick one. It's like asking you which your who's your favorite child like you…. Airpods was an amazing thing. That was enabled by technology that that we built in-house.”

But Ternus was also proud of the company's pivot to making its own chips: “The Apple silicon transition on the Mac” allowed users to use resource-intensive apps on a very portable laptop: “A video editor can do a huge [amount of] work on a huge project that previously would have taken a giant desktop. They can do it on their laptop, on set, on battery, which is amazing, right? Being able to create that much of a leap forward, that was a profound moment,” said Ternus.

CNBC reporter Katie Tarasov didn’t just discuss what the executives are most proud of or consumer perceptions of Apple products. She did ask them about Gerard Williams and Apple’s lawsuit against him, which the company dropped earlier this year, according to various reports. Srouji said they couldn’t speak about legal issues, but Srouji did say that, “We have great engineers building amazing technologies and chips, very hard to build. So, we truly care about IP protection. Beyond that point. I can't really discuss legal matters, but we truly care about IP protection. When certain people leave for certain reasons, that's their choice. That's fine. And again, as I mentioned, we have thousands of engineers and we have a deep bench of talent.”

The question was also important for another reason since it related to a recent departure at Apple: News recently broke that Tang Tan, who is Apple’s chief product designer and reports to Ternus, will be leaving the company next year.  

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.