Known for its secrecy surrounding product development, Apple recently allowed a rare peek into its chip-testing lab, a domain typically concealed from prying eyes. In a departure from its clandestine practices, the tech giant granted access to a CNBC special, marking the first time reporters were permitted to film inside this crucial workspace.
Reputation for secrecy notwithstanding, Apple unveiled the inner workings of its chip-testing lab, showcasing an environment starkly different from the polished aesthetics of its renowned headquarters. The disclosed room featured stacks of chip-testing rigs, embodying a utilitarian atmosphere distinct from the glamorous labs showcased in previous keynotes.
Reportedly housing 70 machines dedicated to testing chips for upcoming Apple products, the lab’s functionality took precedence over aesthetics. CNBC highlighted the room’s color-coded system, a strategic organization facilitating the identification of machines assigned to test specific chip types. This revelation demystified a crucial aspect of Apple’s product development process.
The disclosure marks a milestone, but it’s not the first time glimpses of Apple’s chip-testing process have surfaced. Bloomberg offered a similar insight in 2016, depicting a room with a layout akin to the recently revealed space. Apple’s trajectory in chip manufacturing has seen a shift towards in-house production, with the company taking control of core components. In 2020, Apple announced its foray into crafting its computer chips for Macs, signaling a departure from its reliance on Intel for computer chips.
Apple’s commitment to in-house chip development extends across various product lines. The A series powers iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and HomePods, while the M series drives MacBooks and select iPads. The company also manufactures microchips for accessory devices, with the S series fueling Apple Watches, H and W chips designed for AirPods, and U chips facilitating communication in AirTags. Notably, Apple’s innovation extends to the R1 chip, which is anticipated to be featured in the Apple Vision Pro—a virtual reality headset slated for release in the coming year.
As Apple takes charge of its chip destiny, these revelations offer a glimpse into the intricate web of technology shaping its iconic products.