Apple Possibly Exploring Open-Source Alternative to Arm Architecture

Apple may be exploring the possibility of using an open-source alternative to the Arm architecture, which it's been using in its products for decades.

Arm 13 MBP Feature 2
According to a newly posted job alert, spotted by Tom's Hardware, Apple is looking for an engineer that specializes in RISC-V, an open-source architecture instruction set that allows device makers to build their own chips without having to pay a license or royalty. Apple currently uses the Arm architecture in its products, and it pays the company a royalty fee to use its instruction set.

Apple's job posting description states that the engineer will implement "innovative RISC-V solutions and state of the art routines" to Apple's products. Specifically, Apple hopes prospective engineers will be able to work with the RISC-V instruction set, as well as have an understanding of Arm.

Tom's Hardware theorizes that if Apple were to adopt the open-source instruction set of RISC-V, it may save the company money because it wouldn't need to pay Arm a license fee for its instruction set.

Every Arm core requires Apple to pay a licensing fee to Arm, and since the number of cores for things like SSD controllers and smartwatches will only increase, so will Apple's payments to Arm. As such, replacing at least some Arm cores with RISC-V cores could save Apple millions of dollars in royalty payments every year...

The job listing is a confirmation that Apple is exploring the use of RISC-V, but whether the company decides to implement the open-source technology remains to be seen. Apple's reliance on Arm has increased in the past year as Apple is in the process of switching its Mac lineup to Arm-based processors rather than Intel.

Tag: Arm

Top Rated Comments

xnu Avatar
12 months ago
It has been over a year since we switched chips, we were do for change.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
12 months ago
Pretty much everyone has joined the RISC-V camp after the tech/trade war began, especially China. Western companies don't want to be limited in their potential customers. Alibaba, Loongson, Red Hat, even MIPS has gone RISC-V.

Even though the NVIDIA acquisition of ARM will probably never complete, Apple is smart to begin investing in RISC-V.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LFC2020 Avatar
12 months ago
Once again, these savings won’t get passed on to us customers, prices will continue to go up. ?‍♂️
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leman Avatar
12 months ago

Alternatives, sure... but Apple plus open source? Yeah, right
What do you mean? Apple is heavily invested into open source, their platform is in fact built on open source initiatives. For example, virtually every modern browser today traces its codebase to WebKit, an open source browser engine developed by Apple. LLVM, one of the most used compiler frameworks, was built on Apples money.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leman Avatar
12 months ago
RISC-V is nowhere close to being used in high-performance personal devices. It’s a great teaching platform and it has uses in low-end devices, but that’s about it. There is a lot of work to be done before it becomes a viable alternative to ARM64. But I could see Apple using it for secure coprocessors or something like that.

Also, Apple has an unlimited architecture license agreement with ARM. If they switch architectures again, it won’t be before 10-15 years.


Well, this was inevitable considering how much Apple hates Nvidia (who bought out ARM) over its graphics chip debacle while back. They do not want to pay Nvidia a single cent going forward and going with open source method will likely bring more chip innovation for the company.
The deal is not through yet though.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IllinoisCorn Avatar
12 months ago

Once again, these savings won’t get passed on to us customers, prices will continue to go up. ?‍♂️
The MacBook Air today is nearly a $1,000.00 less than it cost when it debuted.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

mir russia apple pay

Apple Closes Loophole That Allowed Mir Cardholders to Use Apple Pay in Russia

Friday March 25, 2022 1:41 pm PDT by
Apple this week suspended its Apple Pay service for the Mir card payment system in Russia, effectively closing a loophole that had allowed Russians to continue to use the Apple Pay service. According to Reuters, Mir had remained connected to Apple Pay even after Apple restricted the use of the payments service in Russia on March 1 for Mastercard and Visa cardholders. Russia's National...
tap to pay iphone feature

iOS 15.4 Beta 2 Adds 'Tap to Pay on iPhone' Framework

Tuesday February 8, 2022 10:51 am PST by
The second beta of iOS 15.4 adds code for the new "Tap to Pay" feature that Apple announced this morning. "Tap to Pay on iPhone" is designed to allow NFC-compatible iPhones to accept payments through Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, without requiring additional hardware. Tap to Pay on iPhone is enabled in the latest beta, but it does require...
arm logo blue bg

Nvidia Abandons Arm Acquisition in Face of 'Significant Regulatory Challenges'

Tuesday February 8, 2022 3:58 am PST by
As expected, Nvidia has officially abandoned efforts to acquire chip maker Arm after talks reportedly "collapsed" between the two parties on Monday, according to the Financial Times. From the paywalled report:SoftBank and Nvidia said they had agreed to scrap the deal because of "significant regulatory challenges preventing the consummation of the transaction, despite good faith efforts by...
VMWare Apple Silicon Feature

VMware Fusion for M1 Macs Now Available as Private Tech Preview

Thursday September 9, 2021 7:51 am PDT by
VMware Fusion is now available as a private tech preview for M1 Macs, with users able to request access through an online form. A public tech preview will follow in around two weeks, according to a tweet from VMware Fusion manager Michael Roy. VMware Fusion for M1 Macs will be quite limited in scope, with a focus on virtualizing Arm-based Linux distributions. VMware Fusion will not...
Apple vs Microsoft feature

Microsoft Hires Former Apple Chip Architect

Wednesday January 12, 2022 12:05 pm PST by
Microsoft has hired Mike Filippo, a semiconductor designer who formerly worked at Apple as a chip architect, reports Bloomberg. Microsoft is aiming to further expand on chip designs for the servers that power its cloud computing services, and at Microsoft, Filippo will be working on processors for Azure servers. Filippo joined Apple in 2019 after a decade of semiconductor design at Arm,...
f1646763971

M1 Ultra Outperforms 28-Core Intel Mac Pro in First Leaked Benchmark

Tuesday March 8, 2022 2:11 pm PST by
The first benchmark for Apple's M1 Ultra chip popped up on Geekbench following today's event, confirming that the doubled-up M1 Max is indeed able to outperform the highest-end Mac Pro as Apple claims. Labeled Mac13,2, the Mac Studio with 20-core M1 Ultra that was benchmarked earned a single-core score of 1793 and a multi-core score of 24055. Comparatively, the highest-end Mac Pro with...
Steve Jobs garage

Today Marks Steve Jobs' 67th Birthday as MacRumors Turns 22

Thursday February 24, 2022 4:46 am PST by
Born on February 24, 1955, if Steve Jobs were alive today, he would celebrate his 67th birthday. Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, tragically died in 2011 after his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was just 56. Apple under Jobs unarguably changed the world, from the launch of the very first Apple computer in 1976 to the launch of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Jobs founded and ran...
arm logo blue bg

Nvidia Likely Pulling Out of Arm Acquisition After Failing to Win Regulatory Approval

Tuesday January 25, 2022 11:37 am PST by
Nvidia is no longer planning to acquire chip maker Arm after failing to win approval for the venture, reports Bloomberg. Nvidia will "quietly" abandon the purchase because it has made no progress in gaining support from regulators and is facing an FTC lawsuit blocking the deal. Nvidia in September 2020 announced plans to purchase Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion, but it was clear from the...

Popular Stories

cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
Apple Watch Series 7 Starlight Midnight

Standard Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature Same Design as Series 7

Friday August 5, 2022 7:46 am PDT by
The standard 41mm and 45mm models of the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature the same design as the Apple Watch Series 7, according to Twitter user @ShrimpApplePro, who was first to reveal that iPhone 14 Pro models would feature a new pill-and-hole display. Titanium will not be an option for the standard Apple Watch Series 8 models either, according to @ShrimpApplePro, but Bloomberg's Mark...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone X and the iPhone XS. Battery percent...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
ipad pro magic keyboard white

Rumor Claims Next iPad Pro to Feature New Four-Pin Smart Connector

Sunday August 7, 2022 11:57 am PDT by
A new rumor claims that the next-generation 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro will feature a new four-pin Smart Connector, an update from the current three-pin connector in the iPad Pro. The rumor from Mac Otakara, citing "reliable sources," says that the next iPad Pro, expected to debut possibly as soon as this fall, will feature a new Smart Connector that has four-pins rather than three. The...