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Apple’s powerful new A11 Bionic chip was three years in the making

  • September 15, 2017

One of the major new additions to all three new models of the iPhone—iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X—was the A11 Bionic chip. Unsurprisingly, its performance is impressive as all new Apple chips are. What is surprising is how long it took Apple to develop it.

In a recent interview with Mashable’s, marketing chief Phil Schiller and SVP of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji opened up about the development of Apple’s newest cutting-edge chip.

Apple has followed a three-year roadmap when developing its chips. This means that when Apple announced the A8 chip inside the iPhone 6 back in 2014, it was already prepping for the A11 Bionic chip.

This isn’t a strict plan Apple adheres to, as it can change as the development goes on, but it was how development for the A11 Bionic began. One of the most important aspects of the planning was thinking ahead of future features, like the iPhone X’s Super Retina display

“The process is flexible to changes,” related Srouji. “We need to make that happen. We don’t say, ‘No, let me get back to my road map and, five years later, I’ll give you something.”

Changes in the roadmap do occur, which then takes a lot of work to reshuffle things around.

Schiller revealed one specific occasion: “There have been some critical things in the past few years, where we’ve asked Johny’s team to do something on a different schedule, on a different plan than they had in place for years, and they moved heaven and earth and done it, and it’s remarkable to see.”

As to what the situation was, Schiller didn’t say.

It’s very interesting to listen to Apple talk about the development of its products. Creating a powerful neural engine chip capable 600 billion operations per seconds takes years of work. Now we know the exact timeframe it takes some projects to be completed.

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