Google hires veteran Apple chip architect to work on Pixel phones

Veteran Apple chip architect Manu Gulati is now a Lead SoC Architect at Google, reveals his LinkedIn profile which states that he started in his new Google role in May.

According to Variety, Gulati has been tasked with leading the effort to build highly optimized chips for Google's Pixel smartphones in-house.

He had been spearheading Apple’s own chip developments for close to eight years.

By hiring an industry expert, Google is hoping to distance itself from the rest of the pack. Like other flagship Android devices, Pixel smartphones use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor.

This makes it harder for Google to differentiate Pixel devices from other Android phones.

“In addition to Gulati’s hire, Google is now looking to hire additional chip experts to tightly control future Pixel hardware,” Variety learned from sources familiar with the hire.

A custom chip would allow Google to develop a more secure smartphone with better camera features, advanced biometric authentication, optimized power consumption and so forth.

iPhone 7, for example, is six times faster at image recognition than Google’s Pixel phone because its 64-bit A10 Fusion chip has a highly-optimized Image Signal Processor.

And with iOS 11, Apple is integrating features like Metal 2, machine learning and augmented reality directly into a phone’s main chip, which would have been impossible if the company hadn't closely controlled chip design.

For those wondering, Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, Johny Srouji, oversees the company's semiconductor and wireless teams, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

“Johny has built one of the world’s strongest and most innovative teams of silicon and technology engineers, overseeing breakthrough custom silicon and hardware technologies including batteries, application processors, storage controllers, sensors silicon, display silicon and other chipsets across Apple’s entire product line,” according to his bio page on the Apple Leadership website.

Johny joined Apple in 2008 to lead development of the A4, the first Apple-designed system on a chip powering iPhone 4 and the original iPad.

Apple's semiconductor team is comprised of engineers who worked at startups like P.A. Semi that Apple acquired after releasing the original iPhone. Apple's logic was simple: it wanted to take its chip destiny into its own hands to tightly integrate the hardware and software, optimize device performance and power consumption and enable hardware features simply not possible on devices that use off-the-shel parts that are readily available to all vendors.

Incredibly, the strategy paid off big time.

Even the last-generation A9 processor inside iPhone 6s smokes competition in single-core performance, for instance. The A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 family is even faster and Apple's latest chip, the A10X Fusion inside the new iPad Pros, features 30 percent faster CPU performance and forty percent faster graphics than the previous generation.

Apple hires Qualcomm Vice President to lead its wireless chip project

Apple has hired Esin Terzioglu, Qualcomm's Vice President of Engineering, to act as the project lead on its wireless system-on-a-chip project, suggesting the Cupertino company could be developing its own baseband modem for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, reports AppleInsider.

Unlike Apple's in-house designed chips, Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors  and Samsung's own Exynos chips integrate the CPU, GPU and the LTE modem on the same chip package.

iPhone 7, for instance, uses dedicated LTE modems from both Intel and Qualcomm.

“After an amazing eight years at Qualcomm, it is time for me to move on to my next adventure,” Terzioglu shared the news via his LinkedIn account.

“I feel privileged for the opportunity to continue my career at Apple,” he added.

He is credit as an inventor of many Qualcomm patents.

After joining Qualcomm in August 2009, Terzioglu lead the Qualcomm CDMA Technologies Central Engineering organization. He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a Ph.D. minor in Computer Science, both completed at Stanford University.

Apple and Qualcomm are currently embroiled in a $1 billion licensing dispute related to the royalty fees the iPhone maker and other companies pay to Qualcomm for its cellular chips.

According to Axios, the chip maker has asked a US court to force iPhone suppliers to keep paying it royalty fees, while it continues its legal battle with the Cupertino giant.

Sleep expert who helped create Night Shift and Bedtime departs Apple

Sleep researcher Roy J.E.M Raymann has departed Apple for the startup SleepScore Labs. MobileHealthNews has learned that Raymann will serve as the company's Vice President of Sleep Science and Scientific Affairs.

Raymann's LinkedIn profile states he helped develop the Night Shift and Bedtime features in iOS and Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit frameworks.

Prior to joining Apple, Raymann led sleep research at Philips where he wrote papers on mild skin warming as a non-pharmacological method of altering sleep quality and alertness.

His industry experience encompasses areas like specialized wearable devices, dedicated sleep-tracking sensors and non-pharmacological methods of improving sleep quality.

When Apple hired him back in 2014, observes speculated that Apple Watch would include built-in functions to let users track how well they slept at night. The wearable gadget debuted without any sleep-tracking features, but App Store offers a bunch of specialized sleep-tracking apps, like Sleep++ [review], HeartWatch, AutoSleep and others.

A joint venture between renowned surgeon and television host Dr. Oz, medical devices vendor ResMed and private equity firm Pegasus Capital Advisors, SleepScore Labs is a new San Diego-based company focused on helping people understand and improve their sleep.

From the company's About page:

SleepScore Labs is currently in the process of examining how people sleep by compiling and analyzing the most comprehensive and accurate collection of consumer sleep data on the planet.

SleepScore Labs will use this data to deliver ultra-personalized insights, coaching, and validated solutions that enable you to make informed decisions about the behavioral and environmental factors that affect your sleep. Our goal is to help you get the best sleep of your life.

Raymann's departure comes hot on the heels of Apple's acquisition of Beddit, a sleep-tracking app available free on App Store. Beddit's dedicated sleep-tracking accessory can be purchased via Apple Online Store for $150.

Apple hires former NASA veterans for augmented reality and self-driving software testing

Apple has hired several expets from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including three engineers who worked at the space organization's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They, along with other engineers, have been tasked with working on Apple's rumored augmented reality projects and self-driving software initiatives.

According to the latest articles from Bloomberg, Dow Jones Newswire and Business Insider, a rare bureaucratic mistake has revealed Apple’s secret team of NASA veterans and experts holding PhDs in robotics and other related fields. They were apparently recruited for Project Titan, Apple's self-driving car project, and augmented reality, another not-so-secret Apple initiative.

Apple recruits top Google satellite executives for whole new hardware team

Mark Gurman and Mark Bergen, reporting Friday for Bloomberg, have learned from sources who didn't wish to be named that Apple is in the process of starting a brand new hardware team for which it recruited a pair of top Google executives specialized in satellites for collecting images and those for communications.

It's unclear from the report what Apple's secretive new hardware team might be focusing on, but it could be inferred from the hirings that Tim Cook & Co. might be considering a satellite constellation of their own for either image collection or some sort of communications services.

Apple’s tightly-knit industrial design group loses another longtime member

In what could be described as a shakeup to Apple’s vaunted design team, its longtime industrial designer Christopher Stringer has left the company.

He was with the iPhone maker for 21 years, as per a new article Monday by The Information.

About a year ago, Danny Coster, another member of Apple’s elite industrial design team, has left the firm for greener pastures at GoPro. The design team at Apple's gone through multiple changes in the last two years as Jonathan Ive stepped back from running the team, with Richard Howarth taking over day-to-day management of the group.