“As Apple once drained resources out of Intel,” writes Dylan Patel, “the reverse seems to be happening now.”
From Patel’s “Apple CPU Gains Grind To A Halt And The Future Looks Dim As The Impact From The CPU Engineer Exodus To Nuvia And Rivos Starts To Bleed In” posted Tuesday on SemiAnalysis:
Apple has been long hailed for having the best CPU cores for consumer workloads for years. They have by far the highest performance per clock and efficiency driven by performance in the same class as AMD and Intel’s best current CPUs. This was driven by breakneck gains with architectural changes every year for a decade.
Now with the A15, these gains are really slowed…
It appears Apple has not changed the CPU much this generation. SemiAnalysis believes that the next generation core was delayed out of 2021 into 2022 due to CPU engineer resource problems. In 2019, Nuvia was founded and later acquired by Qualcomm for $1.4B. Apple’s Chief CPU Architect, Gerard Williams, as well as over a 100 other Apple engineers left to join this firm. More recently, SemiAnalysis broke the news about Rivos Inc, a new high performance RISC V startup which includes many senior Apple engineers. The brain drain continues and impacts will be more apparent as time moves on. As Apple once drained resources out of Intel and others through the industry, the reverse seems to be happening now.
We believe Apple had to delay the next generation CPU core due to all the personnel turnover Apple has been experiencing. Instead of a new CPU core, they are using a modified version of last year’s core.
My take: A troubling development, if true, given the importance of Apple Silicon to the Apple bull case.