A handful of Apple engineers fell from Cupertino's tree and into Google's hands earlier this year, and apparently 2017 wasn't about to end without another notable move taking place. Talented engineers commonly move around the industry, so many employer changes are uneventful, but when the person involved in a move is a top chip designer at a major player like Apple, things become a little more interesting.
The man in Google's crosshair this go-around is experienced chip designer John Bruno, whose tenure at Apple lasted five-and-a-half years. Before that, Bruno spent over eight years at AMD, working on northbridges and their IGPs in his earlier days, and then moving on to deliver the Comal platform in 2012, which included one of AMD's earliest APU designs, a 32nm architecture, dubbed Trinity.
Future Google Pixel devices could include the company's own chips
While at Apple, Bruno led the company's competitive analysis group, which aimed to keep the company ahead of the pack in silicon chip performance. We'd wager he was very successful, given that Apple's mobile chips dominate many benchmarks thanks to their super-strong IPC performance (just pray your battery degrades gracefully).
Apple's loss here ultimately becomes Google's gain, though it will likely be years before we see the most notable fruits of Bruno's labor at the company. Still, the shift is probably enough to make Apple at least mull the reality of a very competitive Google chip design team going forward.
If Google designs its own SoC, and handles all of its own OS duties, it could be that in time, Google's own devices will feel as optimized as iOS devices do. Google's phones are typically alluring to begin with, but the more in-house the design, the better - for both the company, and Pixel fans alike.