Apple hires high-level AMD engineer as part of effort to build new, energy-sipping mobile chips

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In an update to his LinkedIn profile former AMD chip architect John Bruno, known for his contribution to the chip maker's Trinity Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), now lists himself as a "System Architect at Apple."

While Bruno's new position has not been officially announced, the profile change first spotted by SemiAccurate on Wednesday is thought to reflect Apple's ongoing efforts to design high-performance, energy-sipping mobile processors for use in its iDevice line of products.

Bruno's management of AMD's second-generation APU project, dubbed Trinity, is well known and it is speculated that he may take a similar role at Apple. As a side note, Apple was rumored to be using the original AMD Fusion APU in its Apple TV in 2010, but the final product ended leveraged the proprietary ARM-based A4 processor.

Originally an employee of ATI, Bruno joined AMD in 2006 when the company acquired the graphics card manufacturer in 2006. He was ultimately axed amid wide-ranging job cuts last year that saw the departure of other high-level SoC engineers. Since being let go, Bruno has been "off the radar" and wasn't reported to be attached to any major tech companies until Wednesday's report.

John Bruno
Source: LinkedIn


Apple has long been rumored to be looking into moving its entire portable product line, including laptops, to the ARM platform but Apple leadership remains mum on the prospect. The tech giant was reported to be testing an ARM-based MacBook Air model in 2011, though the machine has yet to materialize. Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned in February that the need for ARM-based thin-and-lights was not part of the company's "post-PC" strategy and said the niche would soon be filled by the iPad.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18


    Does this provide a clue that Apple is working on their own APU or integrated graphics solution for its smaller laptops (or all laptops period)?


     


    Intel HD Graphics, AMD's Fusion, and Nvidia's Project Denver (ARM+GPU) are all examples of APUs.  I get the feeling it would be just for integrated graphics in the laptops.  If so, what would Apple's APU be called?  Intel HD Graphics is improving at an incredible rate, but not fast enough?

  • Reply 2 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    AMD processors confirmed for all Apple computers. Apple to abandon Intel entirely, make 2.5" iPad based on AMD tech.

  • Reply 3 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    AMD processors confirmed for all Apple computers. Apple to abandon Intel entirely, make 2.5" iPad based on AMD tech.



    An iPad smaller than an iPod? For some reason, this makes me think of trying to use a floppy disk as an iPad, but even that would be bigger.

  • Reply 4 of 18
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    “Apple has long been rumored to be looking into moving its entire portable product line, including laptops, to the ARM platform"


     


    This was never a credible rumor from any reputable source. A Mac with ARM would be a worse Mac. An iPad with built-in keyboard would be a worse tablet AND a worse laptop. The idea makes no sense.


     


    Apple WOULD switch Macs to ARM, and make all Mac developers follow along--from Adobe on down. If they had to. But they don’t.

  • Reply 5 of 18
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    AMD processors confirmed for all Apple computers. Apple to abandon Intel entirely, make 2.5" iPad based on AMD tech.



    Immagine.  AMD and Apple completely shaking hands and intel becoming the other guy.  Hmm.  That would put a new twist to the new hackintosh community.  I would like to see Apple make their own processors without Samslung being involved.

  • Reply 6 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    Immagine.  AMD and Apple completely shaking hands and intel becoming the other guy.  Hmm.  That would put a new twist to the new hackintosh community.  I would like to see Apple make their own processors without Samslung being involved.



    The only thing Samsung does is manufacture processors for Apple, not design / engineer them.  I'm sure if TSMC could produce all the processors for Apple, they would.

  • Reply 7 of 18
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    tylerk36 wrote: »
    I would like to see Apple make their own processors without Samslung being involved.

    I don't actually care where and with what resources they make their products. As long as they work as great as they do now, why be bothered if they buy from a competing vendor/mfr? Maybe I'm not that patriotic and naive into thinking that Samsung wouldn't steals chip designs.


    Oh well, I'll insert a picture anyhoo.

    1000
  • Reply 8 of 18


    What? This can't be. Everyone knows Apple only hires marketing people. They don't employ engineers since they don't design or manufacture any hardware.


     


    /S

  • Reply 9 of 18
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post


    The only thing Samsung does is manufacture processors for Apple, not design / engineer them.  I'm sure if TSMC could produce all the processors for Apple, they would.





    That isn't true entirely true.  The A4 in the iP4 is mostly a Samsung/intrinsity design - the hummingbird.  Apple liked hummingbird so much they bought Intrinsity.

  • Reply 10 of 18
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    [...] Apple's ongoing efforts to design high-performance, energy-sipping mobile processors for use in its iDevice line of products.


     


    ARM published its ARMv8 64-bit instruction set late last year.  But I doubt Apple would really need a 64-bit processor in any iOS device for quite a while.  And I doubt Apple would cut and run with AMD instead of Intel.  Apple still needs Intel more than Intel needs Apple.  And Apple probably wants to fix that.


     


    More likely that one of Mr. Bruno's tasks will be to put together yet another prototype of an ARM-based MacBook Air.  With a 64-bit processor this time.  A 64-bit ARM SoC would be one of the major steps needed to eventually end up with a releasable ARM-based MacBook Air.


     


    Just like with all those iPad prototypes going back to 2002, Apple is almost certainly iterating ARM-based MacBook Air prototypes.  Last year: 32-bit, hopeless, probably ran a custom build of some older version of OS X.  This year: 64-bit, getting better, might even be able to run Mountain Lion with minor tweaks.  Next year: quad-core, faster clock speed, could show serious potential.  And some day, just like iPad in 2010, it'll finally be good enough to be released.


     


    No hurry.  The Ultrabook makers can't profitably match the MBA's retail pricing (or sales volumes) even now.  And the dreaded Windows Tax, which will never go away, will keep taking a toll on Ultrabook margins.  Just imagine what will happen if and when Apple can stop paying boutique prices for Intel CPUs.  And when their work with Sharp on next-gen high yield OLED printing technology is ready for production.


     


    (Hint: lower MacBook Air retail pricing, more sales, more market share, and maybe even higher margins.)

  • Reply 11 of 18
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    AMD processors confirmed for all Apple computers. Apple to abandon Intel entirely, make 2.5" iPad based on AMD tech.

    I heard that it's a convertible product. It's also the first product of their Transformers line. Not only is it a 2.5" iPad Mini, but it's an iPhone Mini. And it folds out into a 72" HDTV. And when you're not watching TV, it converts into a sexbot.

    philboogie wrote: »
    1000

    Well done.

    What? This can't be. Everyone knows Apple only hires marketing people. They don't employ engineers since they don't design or manufacture any hardware.

    /S

    Not true. Apple doesn't only hire marketing people. They hire lawyers, too. They need both groups to make sure that the world doesn't realize that they're not innovators.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    I wonder if they ever will get the 'sipping' part so small that a few solar cells on the iPhone might keep you going? I know such things exist now for iDevices but I am meaning Apple's own system built right in.
  • Reply 13 of 18


    hm good move, i do suspect this will lead to some AMD biz at Apple, if it is true that APU's would have made it into the MBA except for inability to supply Apple, that is.


     


    I suspect if that is the case that Apple may partner with AMD (Apple uses AMD APU's and AMD gives Apple access to its APU tech + makes custom ones).


     


    If i remember correctly AMD was talking about making custom APU's and partnering with companies, they even said they could put parts of them into ARM chips if they tried  i believe.


     


     


     


    If that is true i think that we are going to be seeing some very interesting products from Apple.... 

  • Reply 14 of 18
    ksecksec Posts: 1,567member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post


    The only thing Samsung does is manufacture processors for Apple, not design / engineer them.  I'm sure if TSMC could produce all the processors for Apple, they would.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    Immagine.  AMD and Apple completely shaking hands and intel becoming the other guy.  Hmm.  That would put a new twist to the new hackintosh community.  I would like to see Apple make their own processors without Samslung being involved.



     


    Well, Apple has yet to design and engineer a SoC All by themselves, At least in terms of recent year development. All the iPhone SoC are actually minimally tweaked Samsung Design.


     


    I would also like Apple do have less if not Nothing to do with Samsung as well. Problem is GF is crap in Low Power SoC, TSMC are still lacking capacity for Apple, and not working hard enough to even win those contracts from Apple. Intel aren't even in this field yet, Then you are only left with Samsung's Fab, which in working rather well, mainly because the whole SoC has been designed by Samsung themselves.


     


    I am guessing Apple may be working on something secretly. May be, Apple is actually making an x86 based SoC with AMD's help and made by GF with Apple's Logo on it. Since the newest Agreement with Intel should ( i am not 100% sure) allowed this. 

  • Reply 15 of 18
    am8449am8449 Posts: 364member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    I wonder if they ever will get the 'sipping' part so small that a few solar cells on the iPhone might keep you going? I know such things exist now for iDevices but I am meaning Apple's own system built right in.


     


    They could put the solar cells into the "forehead" and "chin" of the iPhone, where the earpiece and home button currently sit.

  • Reply 16 of 18
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    AMD processors confirmed for all Apple computers. Apple to abandon Intel entirely, make 2.5" iPad based on AMD tech.



    Trying to be funny doesn't really suit you.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by elroth View Post

    Trying to be funny doesn't really suit you.


     


    Of course it doesn't.

  • Reply 18 of 18
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    ksec wrote: »

    Well, Apple has yet to design and engineer a SoC All by themselves, At least in terms of recent year development. All the iPhone SoC are actually minimally tweaked Samsung Design.
    Very few companies do! However from what I'm seeing Apple is slowly drifting away from Samsung based designs. On the flip side here Samsungs "designs" really aren't their own as Intrinsity played a very big part in getting that hardware off the ground.

    I would also like Apple do have less if not Nothing to do with Samsung as well. Problem is GF is crap in Low Power SoC,
    Global Foundries ans Samsung are part of the same team when it comes to process technology for sub 32nm tech. The only difference is Samsung tweak for low power and Global foundries for high performance.
    TSMC are still lacking capacity for Apple, and not working hard enough to even win those contracts from Apple. Intel aren't even in this field yet, Then you are only left with Samsung's Fab, which in working rather well, mainly because the whole SoC has been designed by Samsung themselves.
    The key to success is designing a high performance chip tht has a high probability of working on the process at hand. That means conservative design, proven IP, and incremental improvements. All things Apple has done.
    I am guessing Apple may be working on something secretly.
    When isn't Apple working in secret? Unfortunately I suspect you grossly underestimate just how involved Apple is in their processors. The gentleman could be simply shoring up the development team for ARM based designs.
    May be, Apple is actually making an x86 based SoC with AMD's help and made by GF with Apple's Logo on it. Since the newest Agreement with Intel should ( i am not 100% sure) allowed this. 
    There is little advantage for an Apple logged x86 chip. The future is all about SoC design as such engineers at Apple need to move away for knocking up hardware on printed circuit boards and instead implement as much technology as possible on silicon.
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