Apple Hires ARM's Lead CPU Architect Amid Rumors of ARM-Based Macs as Early as 2020

Multiple reports have indicated that Apple plans to transition to its own ARM-based processors in Macs starting as early as 2020, and the company recently made a significant hire that lends credence to that objective.

macs macos catalina
ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips.

Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple.

arm apple mike filippo
Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company.

Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year.

Apple already designs its own A-series chips for the iPhone and the iPad, and it also designs the custom T2 security chip in recent Mac models, as part of its broader efforts to move to in-house components and chip designs. Apple has long been known for closely integrating its hardware and software.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that the transition to ARM-based processors is part of a multi-step process that will eventually allow developers to create one app with a single binary that runs across ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and Mac. Apple has already laid the groundwork for this with Project Catalyst.

Update: ARM has confirmed Filippo's departure in a statement provided to Bloomberg: "Mike was a long-time valuable member of the ARM community. We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him well in his next endeavor."

Bloomberg suggests that Filippo's experience could assist Apple with its ARM-based Mac processors. The report also suggests that Filippo could help fill the void left by the departure of Gerard Williams III, the lead designer of Apple's custom ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ chips from the A7 to A12X, earlier this year.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 16"

Top Rated Comments

JoelTheSuperior Avatar
24 months ago
This has everything to do with A series architecture leader leaving earlier this year, and nothing to do with your fantasy on Macs.
Thing is, why wouldn't Apple, at the very least, be considering an ARM transition? Intel has dropped the ball again and again on offering 7nm chips and it's now looking like they won't have anything suitable until at 2021 at the earliest, based on their leaked roadmap.

Apple would be absolutely insane to not at least consider transitioning away from Intel.

Keep in mind that the poor thermal performance of the newer MacBooks is likely at least partially down to Apple developing them for lower TDP Intel chips that never materialised.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdriftmeyer Avatar
24 months ago
This has everything to do with A series architecture leader leaving earlier this year, and nothing to do with your fantasy on Macs.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheFluffyDuck Avatar
24 months ago
Counting down the days till Apple computing irrelevancy. Sure you will have iPad, and a iPhone but for computers this will be a nail in the coffin for people who use computers for things other than facebook and MS word.

"Hey prosumer, have a look at our computer that costs at least TWICE AS MUCH as a similarly spec machine anywhere else. Whats that, you want compatibility? Well, we have all the IO you could want if all you want is USB-C. Oh you were talking about software compatibility? Well, we don't run windows anymore so if you have some mission critical software you will have to buy a dedicated windows machine. What about old Apple apps? Well we just retired 32bit apps, and we have a "rosetta 2.0' that we will support intel software long, long, LONG, into the future. Well 2 years at last. So it's compatible if all your stuff is up to date. But anyway. BUY OUR MAC!"

Yeah, no.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zubikov Avatar
24 months ago
I prefer that Apple sticks to Intel or perhaps expands to AMD. If they work with a common X64 architecture, everything from peripherals, to accessories to virtual every piece of software will be reasonably priced. With the ARM architecture, you may get custom chips with selective performance gains, but you'll ultimately lose out on price, choice and flexibility.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
QuarterSwede Avatar
24 months ago
Counting down the days till Apple computing irrelevancy. Sure you will have iPad, and a iPhone but for computers this will be a nail in the coffin for people who use computers for things other than facebook and MS word.

"Hey prosumer, have a look at our computer that costs at least TWICE AS MUCH as a similarly spec machine anywhere else. Whats that, you want compatibility? Well, we have all the IO you could want if all you want is USB-C. Oh you were talking about software compatibility? Well, we don't run windows anymore so if you have some mission critical software you will have to buy a dedicated windows machine. What about old Apple apps? Well we just retired 32bit apps, and we have a "rosetta 2.0' that we will support intel software long, long, LONG, into the future. Well 2 years at last. So it's compatible if all your stuff is up to date. But anyway. BUY OUR MAC!"

Yeah, no.
You apparently haven’t been following the A-series chip benchmarks. They’re getting extremely quick without the heat overhead that x86-64 has. It’s only a matter of time, years-if that, before they’re faster than most Core i chips with a much lower TDP. They’ve basically been doubling in speed every iteration and they’re already as fast at single core performance as Intel’s top consumer chips ('https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/279988-apples-ipad-pro-a12x-nearly-matches-top-end-x86-cpus-in-geekbench'). They have a bit of a way to go for multi-core performance but no one has improved chips in the last 5 years like Apple.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrRabuf Avatar
24 months ago
Face it folks, the industry is moving more and more towards ARM and away from x86 and Apple/MacOS isn't the only one. Even Microsoft is considering using ARMs in their Surface Pros. It's especially clear that Apple is going this route. That's probably the main reason they started Project Catalyst.

I'm curious to see how an ARM-powered Mac (and one with a real desktop-class processor with active cooling and whatnot) could do against a typical Intel powered computer.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...