Report: Apple plans for next-gen GPU in iPhone 14 Pro after rare engineering mistake | Jobs Vox

A report in The Information highlights issues with employee retention inside Apple’s silicon group, with some employees citing extremely long hours and stressful workloads. Apple is currently embroiled in litigation with at least two startups, Nuvia and Rivos, that have poached dozens of Apple engineers, and which Apple claims stole proprietary information about its chip designs .

The most interesting anecdote is the claim that Apple was working on a next-generation GPU for the iPhone 14 Pro, but an engineering design fault was found late in development that meant the plans had to be scrapped…

The report stated that the engineers were “too ambitious to add new features” and that the prototype had much more power than anticipated. This means the GPU would have affected battery life too much to be usable, and would have picked up thermal issues. As a result, it could not be used for the iPhone 14 Pro line.

The shipping iPhone 14 Pro GPU core uses the same architecture as the core found in the A15 chip from the iPhone 13 Pro, without any big jumps. (During September’s iPhone keynote, Apple briefly mentioned that the 5-core GPU had 50% more memory bandwidth.) Reportedly, the new GPU will support advanced features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

The Information uses that anecdote as an example of a crackdown on the Apple custom silicon effort that has given Apple’s products so far significant market advantages in the iPhone, iPad and Mac. The GPU fault has been described as “unprecedented in the group’s history”.

The division, headed by Apple’s SVP Johnny Souzi, is facing challenges to continue improving industry-leading performance and power efficiency. The Information notes that several of Apple’s top chip engineers have left the company over the years.

For example, top CPU designer Gerard Williams III left in 2019 to run his own startup, Nuvia. Apple replaced his position with Mike Filippo. However, Filippo is said to have clashed with the engineers and left to join Microsoft earlier this year. Since then, Apple hasn’t named a replacement.

The article also says that Apple has tried to reduce the amount of brain drain at the unit, by showing engineers presentations that highlight the risks of chip startups and warn that most fail. A job at Apple has been held up as a safe option in the event of an economic downturn. Read the Informant report in full here, which dives deep into the ongoing lawsuits with Nuvia and Rivos.

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