Key iOS Chip Architect Gerard Williams III Departs Apple

Gerard Williams III, lead designer of Apple's custom iOS chips from A7 to A12X, has departed the company, according to CNET. While no indication of a change has been made on his LinkedIn profile, it does offer a glimpse into his design prowess.

Williams' presence goes back even further into Apple device history, as he served as the technical lead for the Cortex-A8 design, ARM's first superscalar core design and the heart of the iPhone 3GS. His role evidently grew over the years, with CPU architecture responsibilities eventually evolving into ownership of the entire system on chip (SoC), which houses CPU, graphics, image processing, secure enclave, motion, and AI cores.

A look at his patent portfolio shows he was a key force behind Apple's foray into mixed CPU core clusters starting with the A10 Fusion chip, and transitioning into full heterogeneous cores with the A11 Bionic. His body of work also includes an emphasis on cache, memory, and energy efficiency. These have become key differentiating features as seen in performance benchmarking from sites such as AnandTech.


He came to Apple with a splash, as the A7 was Apple's first 64-bit CPU core. This design arrived on the market over a full year before competitors like Qualcomm and Samsung could respond and largely cemented the technical prowess of the SoC team Apple had created.

If confirmed, his departure would follow the more well-known CPU architect Jim Keller, who was part of Apple's acquisition of PA Semi. More recently, Apple's SoC team lost its lead Manu Gulati, whose vacated role was assumed by Williams. Apple has had some success at retaining key technical executives, however, as the recent rumors of SVP of Hardware Technologies Johnny Srouji's candidacy for Intel CEO fizzled out. Apple also managed to keep Bob Mansfield despite having announced his retirement.

As for potential destinations, Intel has become the number one destination for high-profile technical leads, as they have lured many key AMD executives, as well as former Apple lead Jim Keller. Intel has been absorbing members of the press as well as it seeks to reclaim its technical leadership in the industry, taking on long-tenured PC Perspective writers, including editor-in-chief Ryan Shrout.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
17 months ago
He was only staying on so he could get a employee discount on his AirPower, and whelp.... Seriously though, I hope that he is moving on to something great. Thank you for all the great chips!
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 months ago

Architects are a lot less important in CPU design than you’d think. (Not that they aren’t important, but everybody is replaceable, and Apple’s advantage is primarily in design, not architecture).

totally agreed "everybody is replaceable"
so why some people think Tim is not replaceable
he should be the first one out the door

people that love services will love apple
people that love computers, devices etc
might not be so happy with apple lately
while many will still defend apple, others like me will simply call it like it is
no innovation and abandonware
that includes the Mac Pro and also let's promise and announce and not deliver air power
I think I said enough but I think I have some more things to say
let me just get it off my chest

can't wait to get rid of Tim, ever since he became apple CEO
the keynotes sucks big time, sorry but he doesn't have any charisma, he doesn't connect
at least not with me, apple is not like it used to be

hope someone comes alone that can turn this around
we need someone cool who also talks and understand technology
Tim just talk about percentage and numbers
sorry but that is the way I feel
nothing personal Tim, just business
[doublepost=1553964230][/doublepost]the reason why that man left is obvious
also the timing might be an indication
apple doesn't care about hardware anymore
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 months ago
Time to bring in Gerard Williams IV.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 months ago
This really is the worst week for Apple in recent memory
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 months ago

This really is the worst week for Apple in recent memory

Please, give me a break.

You guys overreact so hard.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 months ago
Too bad. People like Williams should stay. Fossils like Ive should go.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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