Apple has just made a big move in hiring Jim Mergard, a top chip designer from Samsung. This new hire signifies that Apple is steadfast in continuing the design of custom chipsets.
Apple’s previous A4 and A5 chips were built on Cortex-A8 and A9 architecture, with some tweaks here and there as needed. With the A6, Apple has built the chip design from the ground up using ARM’s reference designs, not its ready-made cores. This is reportedly what has allowed the A6’s considerable boost in performance and efficiency.
You may be wondering, why would Apple hire someone from Samsung when it did very well on its own – even (arguably) besting Samsung’s latest offerings? Mergard’s experience includes building SoC chips (System On a Chip), and even an AMD chip which was meant to power low end PCs. This has lead some to believe that Apple is working on SoC chips for its Mac lineup, or that it simply wants to keep making improvements to the A6 core and stay ahead of the competition. It’s gotta sting when your biggest competition takes one of your most talented employees.
Personally, I think this is simply Apple’s way to stifle the competition, but what do you guys think? Do you think this could be a big deal down the road?