The Chips That Rebooted the Mac

published on 2022/04/17

Apple Inc. had a problem. While its iPhones were flying off shelves, sales of Mac computers were stagnating. Customers weren’t thrilled with their design or performance.

Five years later, Mac sales are soaring. The turnaround is due to an unusual, yearslong effort to build one of the world’s most advanced chip-design operations inside the world’s best-known gadget maker.

Led by a onetime Intel Corp. INTC -2.85% ▼ engineer and IBM executive named Johny Srouji, Apple Corp. AAPL -3.00% ▼’s semiconductor division launched a risky project to replace the Intel processors that powered Apple laptops and desktops for 15 years with chips designed in-house. Those M1 chips, which are far more energy-efficient than Intel’s, enabled Macs to run much faster and generate less heat, laying the groundwork for a resurgence in Apple’s computer line. The company has now gained control over an essential component just as supply-chain disruptions cause disorder in the rest of the chip market.


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