Apple Job Posting Hints At Major New System-On-A-Chip Design Effort

Apple introduced a number of new job postings today, and one in particular is interesting given the company’s recent decisions relative to iPhone hardware. The posting is seeking an “SoC Modelling Architect / Lead,” or in the words of the job description, an individual who will be “at the center of a chip design effort interfacing with all disciplines, with a critical impact on getting functional products to millions of customers quickly.”

Essentially, Apple seems to be looking for a maestro for its own chip design efforts, which have taken on additional depth since Apple is now responsible for its own custom SoC design following the introduction of the A6 processor. What exactly does that involve? Well, basically, power and performance, and the management thereof.

When I recently spoke with iFixit’s Kyle Wiens, he emphasized that what Apple stood to gain by taking the reins on its own SoC design was improved power consumption and better performance, and every single core responsibly on the list of this new posting emphasizes those points. The posting also affirms what we already know about Apple – namely, that it loves when software and hardware work as closely together as possible.

So what’s the initiative? In all likelihood, we’re looking at a search for the leader of the design of the A7 or a later successor to the current A6, possibly a completely fresh start in Apple’s mobile chip-design. But there’s also the other, more tantalizing (but less realistic) possibility that this is the beginning of what TheNextWeb’s Matthew Panzarino wrote about in a piece earlier today, namely Apple’s reported plans to replace Intel processors with its own in-house designed variant. Transitioning away from Intel for Macs is something that’s been discussed plenty before, however, and it would involve significant challenges in terms of ensuring software compatibility  Still, the ad posting doesn’t say anything about “mobile” processors specifically, so the imagination tends to wander.

Update: A tipster notes that a similar listing was also posted back in May, so Apple either hasn’t found the right candidate yet or is looking for someone new to lead their chip design efforts.