An interesting new Bloomberg profile of Apples Johny Srouji details an interesting anecdote regarding the iPad Pro.
If you dont know, Srouji is Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies in charge of the division that makes the processors powering the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. In early 2015, the larger iPad was running behind schedule and was delayed until the fall. But that led to a problem:
The original plan was to introduce the iPad Pro with Apples tablet chip, the A8X, the same processor that powered the iPad Air2, introduced in 2014. But delaying until fall meant that the Pro would make its debut alongside the iPhone6s, which was going to use a newer, faster phone chip called the A9.
This is the stuff that keeps technology executives up at night. The iPad Pro was important: It was Apples attempt to sell tablets to business customers. And it would look feeble next to the iPhone 6s. So Srouji put his engineers on a crash program to move up the rollout of a new tablet processor, the A9X, by half a year. The engineers finished in time, and the Pro hit the market with the faster chip and a 12.9-inch display packed with 5.6million pixels.
And while the tablet has yet to help improve the iPads sales slide, the chip itself was lauded by many as one of the best parts of the device. Recent tests have shown it is almost as powerful as some Intel chips used in the Macintosh line.
Srouji joined Apple in 2008 and led Apples in-house chip making effort since the A4 processor that originally powered the first-generation iPad. Apples chip-making prowess jumped into the headlines with the 64-bit A7 processor that powered the iPhone 5s and Touch ID biometric sensor.
The entire profile is definitely worth a read and provides some interesting insights into one of the most important parts of Apples ecosystem.