Apple executives have been on a roll lately with interviews with various publications to talk about the Apple Silicon and the new M1 chip Macs. This latest interview is by Om Malik with Greg Joswiak, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, and Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering.
Apple Silicon completes the whole widget for the Mac
The interview goes into some details of how the new Apple Silicon Macs are part of Steve Jobs’ vision to make the ‘whole widget’. Om Malik described this ‘widget’ concept as Jobs wanting to make and control the whole experience, ranging from software to hardware.
Jobs learned the hard way that, to stay competitive, Apple had to make and control everything: the software, the hardware, the user experience, and the chips that power it all. He referred to this as “the whole widget.” I’ve previously written about the critical need today’s giants have for vertical integration. Much of it can be summed up in this line from a 2017 piece: “Don’t depend on a third party to be an enabler of your key innovations and capabilities.”
Greg Joswiak told Om Malik:
“Steve used to say that we make the whole widget. We’ve been making the whole widget for all of our products, from the iPhone, to the iPads, to the watch. This was the final element to making the whole widget on the Mac.”
This is also obvious from other interviews where Apple executives say that they are not a chip company but a product company.
Craig Federighi also explained further that they don’t sell specifications to their customers but a measure of how quickly can the product perform a job such as video processing. He believes that is what professionals want to know, rather than the nitty-gritty of the CPU specifications.
“The specs that are typically bandied about in the industry have stopped being a good predictor of actual task-level performance for a long time,” Federighi said. You don’t worry about the CPU specs; instead, you think about the job. “Architecturally, how many streams of 4k or 8k video can you process simultaneously while performing certain effects? That is the question video professionals want an answer to. No spec on the chip is going to answer that question for them.”
Srouji, an industry veteran who has previously worked for Intel and IBM, echoed Craig’s opinion:
“We are a product company, and we built a beautiful product that has the tight integration of software and silicon. It’s not about the gigahertz and megahertz, but about what the customers are getting out of it.”
Srouji also spoke about how he works with other teams on the chips, which is the kind of integration that you cannot get in any other company like Intel or AMD. In Apple’s model software and hardware are designed together, rather than in different companies and places.
Check out the complete interview on Om’s website. It’s worth the read.