Apple has managed to poach an experienced chip engineer from ARM as the company ramps up its effort to design more of its iPhone and other hardware in-house. In addition, Apple is reportedly looking to develop its own processors for Mac systems in a protracted shift away from Intel, though I'm skeptical of this angle.
Here's what we know. Apple hired Mike Filippo in May to serve as a chip architect. Filippo spent the past decade working at ARM, most recently as the company's lead CPU architect. He oversaw the development of several different processors, including the Cortex-A76, A72, and A57, along with ARM's Hercules-AE, a next-generation automotive enhanced CPU.
Prior to working at ARM, Filippo was employed by Intel for five years where he helped develop high performance computing (HPC) hardware. And prior to that, he spent eight years at AMD in various technical roles related to all aspects of CPU design on multiple generations of Athlon and Opteron products, according to his LinkedIn profile. In short, this is a solid hire for Apple.
What specific projects he will work on at Apple is not yet clear. Given Filippo's experience, it could be practically anything. The most obvious one is mobile, as Apple has been trying like gangbusters to be self-reliant on hardware as much as possible. However, Filippo could potentially contribute to Apple's efforts in the desktop and even automotive space.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is in fact looking to expand its own chip development into more powerful devices, and put in motion a plan several years ago to replace Intel hardware with ARM-based chips in its Mac systems. It's also reported that Apple is interested in developing silicon for other categories, such as VR headsets.
I wouldn't expect Intel to be shown the door soon, though. Apple just recently unveiled a refreshed Mac Pro desktop with up to a 28-core/56-thread Intel Xeon processor inside. So long as Apple intends to offer high powered desktops and workstations, I can't see it kicking Intel to the curb, at least not in the near future.