Apple’s plans to introduce its own desktop processors might be a bit delayed. CNET reported yesterday that Gerard Williams III, the company’s senior director in platform architecture, left Apple in February after working there for nine years.
Williams III led development of Apple processors from the A7, which debuted in the iPhone 5S in 2013, to the A12X used in the most recent iPad Pro models. CNET said Williams III initially led the design of custom CPU cores for Apple chips, then came to oversee the layout of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) itself.
Rumors about Apple’s plans to make its own desktop processors have spread for a while. Things got more concrete in April 2018 when Bloomberg reported that Apple wanted to replace Intel’s CPUs in its Mac lineup as early as 2020. Since then…
- Apple said the iPad Pro is faster than 92 percent of mobile computers, including those with Intel Core i7 processors, and preliminary Geekbench results supported those claims.
- DigiTimes reported that TSMC would be the exclusive manufacturer of the A13, which could be the first of Apple’s processors to ship in something other than an iOS device.
- Bloomberg published another report saying Apple planned to ship its own desktop processors in 2020, and Axios followed up with a report that Intel confirmed Apple’s plans to ditch its CPUs.
Apple also brought its A12 Bionic processors to the low-cost iPad Air and iPad Mini devices released earlier this month. The A12X remains exclusive to the iPad Pro, but it’s clear that the company plans to bring the surprisingly powerful chips to more and more products.
It’s not clear how Williams III’s departure will affect Apple’s plans for its custom processors. He’s named on some 60 patents, CNET noted, but it would be a mistake to attribute the success of Apple’s chips to one person. The question is how the team supporting Williams III will respond to him leaving.