Apple could soon integrate RISC-V technology in its proprietary processors
Chances for the Nvidia - ARM deal to fall through have been increasing in the past few months, but just in case Team Green still manages to turn things to its advantage and eventually mess up the licensing terms and fees for all of ARM's customers, Apple is already planning ahead, looking to ensure that its proprietary silicon will benefit from the best core architecture available. Ever since the announcement of the Nvidia - ARM deal, RISC-V emerged as a viable CPU ISA alternative that is also open-source, and it looks like Apple is now considering integrating this technology for some future products, as it recently posted a job opening for RISC-V high-performance programmers.
The first thing that stands out from the job title itself is that Apple is looking for programmers and not CPU architects, suggesting that it may have already designed some type of chip integrating the RISC-V architecture and now it only needs to make the new silicon compatible with its operating systems and adjacent software. This also becomes clearer in the description: “You will work in a SW and HW cross functional team which is implementing innovative RISC-V solutions and state of the art routines. This is to support the necessary computation for such things as machine learning, vision algorithms, signal and video processing. Push the state of the art in low level computation and drive them towards energy efficient and high performance implementations by tightly integrating software and hardware."
Of course, Apple did not let any info slip on possible products that could integrate RISC-V processors, yet the job description alludes to SoC components like the NPU (machine learning) and VPU (vision / video processing) that may get ported on RISC-V tech. Tom’s Hardware points out that this move could save Apple quite a few millions of dollars that otherwise would be paid yearly as licensing fees to ARM.