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Aug 1, 2012

Apple CPU Expert Leaves A6/A7 Chips Production Might Be Affected




AMD announced that Jim Keller has left Apple to become the corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores. He will be reporting directly to Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Technology and Engineering, Mark Papermaster, who also worked at Apple.

The co-author of the HyperTransport specification, as well as the innovative x86-64 processor instruction set, Keller is said to have been poached by Papermaster who left Apple in 2010, on grounds of a PR nightmare caused by the Antennagate fiasco after the iPhone 4 launch. It is believed that Papermaster didn’t do everything in his power to prevent the debacle. Keller, for his part, “will lead AMD’s microprocessor core design efforts aligned with AMD’s ambidextrous strategy with a focus on developing both high-performance and low-power processor cores that will be the foundation of AMD’s future products,” according to a press release issued by the chip makers today.

“Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team,” commented Papermaster. “He has contributed to processing innovations that have delivered tremendous compute advances for millions of people all over the world, and we expect that his innovative spirit, low-power design expertise, creativity and drive for success will help us shape our future and fuel our growth,” Papermaster added. Keller’s job at Apple was to head the platform architecture group focusing on mobile products – the A-series chips.

A former staffer of PA Semi, which Apple purchased a few years ago to make the A4, the A5, and later the A5X SoCs (system on a chip), Keller “architected several generations of mobile processors, including the chip families found in millions of Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs,” says AMD. Apple might now have to look for a replacement chip expert to continue work on the next A-series processors, the A6, the A7 etc. Keller also worked at SiByte(R) and Broadcom as chief architect for a line of scalable, MIPS-based network processors and, before that, he spent several years at AMD on the design team responsible for the AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron 64 processors.

Apple iPad third-generation teardown of A5X chip
Image credits to iFixit

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