apple (Nasdaq stock code: AAPL) It has appreciated by 82.3% in 2020, including dividends. Even in a COVID-19 pandemic, Apple’s financial performance still miraculously showed amazing resilience. As the summer passed, people’s enthusiasm for the potential 5G “super cycle” began to increase, which caused Apple’s stock to rise and reach a record high. The iPhone giant even split up at a 4-1 price in August.
Although the iPhone 12 released in October is undoubtedly Apple’s first 5G iPhone, I think Apple’s most impressive technical achievements in 2020 are other things.
M1 chip: a decade of manufacturing
In early November, Apple released its new Mac series products, which will be supported by its proprietary M1 system-on-chip. This is the first batch of Mac products and will use Apple’s proprietary internal chip design instead of Mac. Intel (Nasdaq stock code: INTC) The processors they used in the past. According to Apple, the new M1 chip has “CPU speed increased by 3.5 times, GPU speed increased by 6 times, machine learning (ML) function increased by 15 times, battery life is 2 times longer than before.” Current specifications indicate that M1 The battery life is about twice as long, and recent benchmark tests show that it is much faster than the Intel chip that powered the Mac last year. The M1 unified architecture allows the CPU, GPU, neural engine, controller, and other parts of the processor system to access the same memory, so data does not need to be copied when flowing between each component. This can increase speed and efficiency.
In the past two decades, how did Apple achieve such an achievement in the unmatched Intel field, which is known as the gold standard for complex PC processors and only focuses on leading chips? Part of the answer is that M1 was born 10 years ago, and the other is that it has been helped by two major partners.
Apple’s two dancing partners
Due to Apple’s size and reputation, it has a close partnership in design and casting throughout the chip industry.In this case, M1 was created through close cooperation with the private company ARM, which licenses its computing instruction architecture to a third party and can cooperate with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD).
according to Twitter (New York Stock Exchange: TWTR) In the post of Shac Ron, a former Apple engineer who participated in the project, Apple not only coordinated with ARM, but actually helped ARM build its 64-bit custom instruction set architecture (ISA) even before ARM completed the construction. “Because of the ARM ISA, M1 performance is not like this, and ten years ago, because of Apple’s core performance plan, ARM ISA is like this.”
Second, since Apple has been designing its own chips, it has used foundries TSMC (New York Stock Exchange: TSM) As a partner of its highly complex manufacturing. Two years ago, Saiwan Semi surpassed Intel in manufacturing capacity. As chip density increases and the distance between transistors becomes smaller and smaller, it becomes more and more difficult to produce leading chips, and Taiwan Semiconductor’s diverse customer base enables it to gain an advantage in Intel’s proprietary fab .
The close partnership with Apple becoming TSM’s main star customer has made Apple the first company to sell 5nm chips, which pack up to 16 billion transistors on each M1.
Qualcomm, you are the next
Why is Apple designing its own Mac chip really important-maybe even bigger than the new 5G iPhone? Because although the brand, marketing, design, and iOS operating system make Apple win the competition with other mobile phone and computer companies, as long as Apple uses the same semiconductors as other mobile phone and computer assemblers, Apple’s products can be very different. really have. By disconnecting from large, powerful processor companies and adopting its own high-performance chip design, Apple is embarking on a deeper and deeper economic crisis with its competitors. This is also a very lucky time, because more and more people are working at home and need to upgrade their home computers-even after the pandemic is over, this trend should remain high relative to history.
Like the new 5G iPhone, it still uses Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) Modems, and Apple must have had a dispute with Qualcomm over paying Qualcomm’s high royalties recently. However, after purchasing Intel’s mobile modem division in 2019, Apple is expected to produce its own 5G modem within this decade.