Apple Silicon: History From iPhone, iPad, Watch To Mac (WWDC 2020)

Welcome to our lab. We've been building and refining our Apple Silicon for over a decade. The result is a scalable architecture that is custom-designed for Apple products, and it leads the industry in features and performance per watt.

So I'd like to tell you how we got here and what it means for the Mac moving forward. 

It all started with the iPhone. The iPhone demanded performance and capabilities that were seen as impossible in a device that small. This is where we developed our relentless focus on performance per watt.

Generation after generation, we pushed the boundaries of technology, which enabled us to improve performance and energy efficiency, while building advanced and industry-leading features. Our team delivered ten generations of increasingly complex and rich designs, always improving performance. In fact, CPU performance in the iPhone has improved by over a hundred times, keeping the iPhone's performance ahead of every other phone in the industry.


Another opportunity for the team was the iPad. While iPhone chips could drive our mainstream iPads, we wanted to push the iPad even further.

It began with the iPad's Retina display, which demanded a custom chip. So the team scaled our architecture and designed the most-optimized and highest-performance chip possible for the iPad. Starting with the A5X, we built a line of SoCs specifically designed for the iPad. We doubled the iPhone's graphics performance through a larger GPU and a wider memory subsystem. This put the iPad in a class by itself.

Compared to the very first iPad, the latest iPad Pro delivers over 1,000 times faster graphics performance in just ten years. This is part of the reason why the iPad Pro is faster than the vast majority of PC laptops. And this foreshadows how well our architecture will scale into the Mac.

Another place where we applied our focus was the Watch. We scaled our SoC architecture to optimize performance for the device's unique low-power requirements, and we built a chip perfectly suited for Apple Watch.

Our SoCs enable each of these products with unique features and industry-leading performance per watt, and it makes each of them best in class. And we do this at an enormous scale. In fact, adding all of the processors across these three products, we've shipped over two billion in just ten years. And we've designed and shipped billions of additional chips that work together with our SoCs to enable our amazing products.


And now we're bringing all of that expertise and that same focused and disciplined approach to the Mac.

The first thing this will do is give the Mac a whole new level of performance. Now, when we talk about performance, we have to talk about power, because all systems built today are constrained by power consumption, thermals, or both.

Among today's consumer systems, desktops deliver the highest performance but consume the most power. Notebooks trade off performance for lower power, making them portable. As you can see, normally to get more performance you have to consume more power. When you take a closer look at this chart, you realize you want to operate in the upper-left corner. You want to deliver the highest performance at the lowest power consumption. And that's exactly where we want to take the Mac.

Building up on our years of experience designing the world's most energy-efficient chips, our plan is to give the Mac a much higher level of performance while at the same time consuming less power. So, much better performance is reason enough to transition the Mac to Apple SoCs.


But that's just part of the story. Our scalable architecture includes many custom technologies that when integrated with our software will bring even more innovation to the Mac. With our advanced power management, we will maximize performance and battery life better than ever before. Our Secure Enclave will bring best-in-class security, and our high-performance GPU is going to bring a whole new level of graphics performance to every Mac, making them even better for Pro Applications and really great for games.

And combined with our neural engines, our chips will make the Mac an amazing platform for machine learning. And we're bringing many other custom technologies, such as our video-display and image-processing engines, that will help make the Mac better than ever before.

So, what does all of this mean for the Mac?

First, we're designing a family of SoCs specifically for the Mac product line. Second, just like we did with the iPhone, iPad and Watch, we're going to bring great technologies to the Mac. This will give the Mac a unique set of features and incredible performance. And third, we'll have a common architecture across all of our product lines, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem.

Ultimately we know that bringing our SoCs to the Mac will allow us to build much better products, and the Mac will take another huge leap forward.

Now, a key advantage we have is the tight integration of our silicon with our software. To tell you more about how macOS will run on Apple SoCs, here is my colleague, Craig.

WWDC 2020 speech by: Johny Srouji, SVP, Hardware Technologies at Apple.

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