Apple-designed processors, marketed for the Macintosh as Apple silicon, are system on a chip and system in a package processors designed by Apple Inc. They are the basis of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch platforms. Apple outsources the chips’ manufacture but fully controls their integration with the company’s hardware and software.
About Apple-designed processors in brief
Apple-designed processors, marketed for the Macintosh as Apple silicon, are system on a chip and system in a package processors designed by Apple Inc. They are the basis of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch platforms. Apple outsources the chips’ manufacture but fully controls their integration with the company’s hardware and software. Apple also designs a SoC called the Apple H1 for its AirPods line of wireless headphones. On June 22, 2020, at WWDC 2020, Apple announced plans to switch its Macintosh computers from Intel processors to ARM-based, Apple- designed processors. The first of theARM-based Macs, using the Apple M1 processor, were announced on November 10, 2020. The Apple A4 is a PoP SoC manufactured by Samsung, the first SoC Apple designed in-house. The A4 runs at different speeds in different products: 1 GHz in the first iPads, 800 MHz in the iPhone 4 and 4th-generation iPod touch, and an undisclosed speed in the 2nd-generation Apple TV. The 1st- generation iPod touch has two low-power A4 mounted chips with two 256 MB SDRAM chips for a total of 512MB of RAM. The iPhone 4 has two high-power 128 MB mounted chips for two 256MB RAM packages for the total of 256MB of memory. The iPad 2 debuted with its A4 chip commercially in March 2011, followed by the release of its iPad 2 tablet in March 2012. Apple’s A5 is an A4-based chip that replaced the A4 SoC used in the iPad 2, and replaced the Apple A3 SoC that replaced its A3 chip.
Apple uses the ARM architecture for its processors. Apple first used SoCs in early versions of the iPhone and iPod touch. They combine in one package a single ARM- based processing core, a graphics processing unit, and other electronics necessary for mobile computing. They integrate one or more ARM-Based processing cores, a Graphics processing unit, cache memory and other Electronics necessary to provide mobile computing functions within a single physical package. Apple’s A4 processor is double the bandwidth of the data bus used in previous ARM11 and ARM11-based devices. Apple used the ARM11 processor to give the iPad high bandwidth, the width of the RAM bus is double that of the DataBus, and the speed of the graphics processor is twice that of previous ARM-11 devices. It is the same processor that is used in Apple’s iPad 2 and iPad 3 tablets. Apple has not announced a release date for the Apple Watch, but it is expected to launch in the fall of 2015. The Watch will have a built-in Apple A7 processor, which is based on the same architecture as the iPhone 3G and the iPod touch 3G, and will use the A5 SoC for the HomePod, iPod touch and the Apple TV 2nd generation. It will also have an Apple A5 processor that uses the same 64-bit-wide AMBAI bus.