Eassa: How Apple beat Intel at chipset innovation

Apple A7
Apple A7 (Image credit: Apple)

Intel hasn't had an easy time since moving to its 14-nanometer process. It's gone from a tick-tock cycle to a tick-tock-optimize-optimize-optimize... cycle that's resulted in many people wondering if, not how, it will recover. Apple, on the other hand, is blazing ahead with its A-series system-on-a-chip (SoC) for iPhone and iPad.

Ashraf Eassa, writing for The Motley Fool (opens in new tab)

Ultimately, I think Apple is the most innovative chip designer in the world right now thanks to a combination of world-class engineering talent, exceptional management, and access to dependable manufacturing partners. Not only has Apple taken the lead over Intel, but I think that lead will continue to widen for years to come. In the short term, Apple's chip-development prowess relative to Intel may lead to perception problems for Intel, but over the long term, if Intel falls too far behind, it could permanently lose billions in annual revenue should Apple decide that it's had enough of Intel's poor execution.

Intel has a dizzying array of Coffe Lake, Ice Lake, Whiskey Lake, and maybe, one day, Cannon Lake chips in the works. Apple has the A12, A13, and A14, plus a wide range of letters left in the alphabet.

The next few years will prove very interesting.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • We have the iPhone X blowing away most other CPUs out there on benchmarks so yes, Apple is doing a good job of designing its own chips. But benchmarks don’t mean diddly-squat without good software to take advantage of them and Apple shines there also with iOS.
  • But iOS 11 has been very buggy.
    Dont get my wrong the chips are fab very powerful and innovative but I feel Apple is slipping abit, what with the poor macbook pro keyboards, the charging of users to fix touch disease when it was Apples poor design and the throttling of the iphones without telling the users or giving them the choice. Also some poor customer care (see the snazy labs video).
  • I think Apple are working to rectify these issues. iOS 12 is supposedly a bug-fixing release, rather than to introduce loads of new features, so that should clear up the majority of issues that were left in iOS 11. Apple throttled certain phones with good reason, but you're right in that they should've been transparent from the start, and now they are, as well as giving you the choice to remove the throttling. I'm not sure what will happen with the keyboards, but I imagine Apple are actively looking for a solution. The rest as well needs improvement, this isn't what we've come to expect of Apple.
  • What, no article about leaked documents from Lucy Koh showing Apple knew about bendy iPhone 6? Selective journalism to make Apple look better so they keep giving you early review units and invites to events. SMH -_-
  • You mean Lucy the most biased judge in the land? Who appointed her friend to monitor Apple for the tiny price of $11,000 an hour? That Lucky Koh?
  • Lucy Koh is biased towards Apple. The law firm she first started with helped Apple do their IPO decades ago...
  • No, that would be Denise Cole. You’re thinking of the iBooks case.
  • I know right? :)