Apple Hires ARM’s Lead CPU Architect Amid Rumors of ARM-Based Macs as Early as 2020

Multiple reports have indicated that Apple plans to transition to its own ARM-based processors in Macs starting as early as 2020, and the company recently made a significant hire that lends credence to that objective.


ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips.

Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple.


Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company.

Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year.

Apple already designs its own A-series chips for the iPhone and the iPad, and it also designs the custom T2 security chip in recent Mac models, as part of its broader efforts to move to in-house components and chip designs. Apple has long been known for closely integrating its hardware and software.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that the transition to ARM-based processors is part of a multi-step process that will eventually allow developers to create one app with a single binary that runs across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has already laid the groundwork for this with Project Catalyst.

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This article, "Apple Hires ARM's Lead CPU Architect Amid Rumors of ARM-Based Macs as Early as 2020" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Google Poaches Top Mobile Chip Designer John Bruno From Apple

Google has reportedly poached one of Apple's top chip designers, as it continues to pursue plans to design its own chipsets for consumer devices like its Pixel range of smartphones.

According to The Information, the search giant has hired well-regarded Apple chip expert John Bruno, who has worked on silicon architecture for iPhones since 2012. Before moving offices to Cupertino to help with Apple's ARM-based mobile chip push, Bruno worked at Advanced Micro Devices and led chip design at ATI Technologies.


Bruno founded and managed Apple's silicon competitive analysis group, which sought to keep the company ahead of competitors in the area of chip performance. He follows several other experienced chip engineers who have defected to Google from Apple over the past year, including Manu Gulati, Wonjae (Gregory) Choi and Tayo Fadelu.

The hires highlight Google's attempt to keep pace with Apple, which has been designing its own mobile chips since 2010. Recently, Google said it would sell chips known as Cloud Tensor Processing Units (TPU) to other companies so that they could benefit from its deep learning tool set, TensorFlow. However, the recruitment drive is more likely to be aimed at making own-branded chips for Google's Pixel smartphones.

Indeed, Google's first mobile chip could be right around the corner, according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at Tirias Research who spoke to The Information. With the help of off-the-shelf intellectual property, the Mountain View-based tech giant could have a multifunctional system-on-a-chip up and running in as soon as six months, McGregor said.

Tag: ARM

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Microsoft Claims Upcoming ARM-Powered Laptops Offer Multi-Day Battery Life

Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed they hope to release ARM-powered laptops by the end of the year, with the two companies promising multi-day battery life from the new machines (via Trusted Reviews).

At its annual 5G summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm revealed new details about the PCs it is developing in partnership with Microsoft. Known as "Always Connected PCs", the laptops are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor and rely on an ARM emulation layer to run x86 Windows 10 desktop applications.


ARM processors require fewer transistors, which enables a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry. Their smaller size and lower power consumption are two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads, but the increasing performance and efficiency of the chips is making the step up to laptops a realistic proposition.

Microsoft said it is already testing "hundreds" of the ARM-powered laptops internally on a daily basis, with battery life in particular exceeding expectations.
"To be frank, it's actually beyond our expectations. We set a high bar for [our developers], and we're now beyond that. It's the kind of battery life where I use it on a daily basis. I don't take my charger with me. I may charge it every couple of days or so. It's that kind of battery life."

Bernard added: "I would consider it a game-changer in terms of the way people have experienced PCs in the past."
The first round of Always Connected PCs are said to be coming from the likes of Asus, HP, and Lenovo, but they aren't expected to be cheap. Qualcomm said more affordable Windows 10 Always Connected PCs should become available once the portfolio expands.

Apple is reportedly looking into using ARM-based core processor chips for future MacBooks, which would reduce the company's dependence on Intel. Industry sources claim that Apple would instead build its notebook chips using ARM Holding's technology, a British company that designs ARM architecture and licenses it out to other companies.


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