Apple hires key chip designer from ARM as own efforts ramp up


Apple retail employees work during a press preview of the new Apple Store inside the Carnegie Library, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Apple Inc hired one of ARM Holdings Inc’s top chip engineers as the iPhone maker looks to expand its own chip development to more powerful devices, including the Mac, and new categories like a headset. 

The company hired Mike Filippo in May for a chip architect position, according to his LinkedIn profile. At ARM, Filippo was a lead engineer behind chip designs that power the vast majority of the world’s smartphones and tablets and was leading a new push into parts for computers. ARM, owned by SoftBank Group Corp, designs microprocessors and licenses technology that is fundamental to the chip development efforts of Apple, Samsung Electronics Co, Qualcomm Inc and Huawei Technologies Co. 

Prior to his work at ARM, Filippo was also a key designer at chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp. ARM confirmed Filippo’s departure. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

“Mike was a long-time valuable member of the ARM community,” a spokesman for the UK-based company said. “We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him well in his next endeavour.” 

For Apple, the hire could help fill the void left by the departure of Gerard Williams III earlier this year. Williams was Apple’s head architect of chips used in the iPhone and iPad. Apple’s A series chips power its mobile devices using ARM technology. Its Mac computers have used processors from Intel for nearly two decades. 

The company initiated a plan several years ago to replace Intel chips in its Mac computers with processors based on the ARM architecture as early as 2020. Filippo’s experience in more advanced chips like those in servers would assist in that effort. 

The company is also planning to expand its in-house chip making work to new device categories like a headset that meshes augmented and virtual reality, Bloomberg News has reported. – Bloomberg

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