Apple picks Jerusalem for new development center in Israel

Tech giant runs existing R&D sites in Herzliya and Haifa; new center to focus on processor developments for Mac computers

Ricky Ben-David is a Times of Israel editor and reporter

An illustrative photo of an Apple store in Thailand. (prachanart via iStock by Getty Images)
An illustrative photo of an Apple store in Thailand. (prachanart via iStock by Getty Images)

US tech giant Apple is expanding its operations in Israel, adding a new development center in Jerusalem alongside its existing sites in Herzliya and Haifa.

The announcement was made on LinkedIn on Wednesday in a Hebrew-language post by an Apple talent recruiter looking to hire Israeli engineers.

According to the post, the Jerusalem center will focus on processor developments for Mac computers. Apple has been relying on Intel chips but has been preparing to swap the remaining Intel parts with custom-made in-house processors.

In late 2020, The Times of Israel reported that Apple’s Israeli teams were behind the M1 chips, Apple’s first chip developed and built in-house for desktops and laptops. Earlier in 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially announced the company would be producing its own processors for its desktops and laptops, as part of the tech giant’s penchant for controlling as many parts as possible of the hardware in its products. The company had already been using in-house designs for its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, and is now using its knowledge for its line of computers.

Apple opened its first Israeli site in Herzliya in 2015, after acquiring Israeli startup Anobit for some $390 million in 2012. Apple also bought Israeli 3D sensing company PrimeSense in 2013.

Haifa-born Johny Srouji, a senior vice president of hardware technologies at Apple, was responsible for setting up the Israeli R&D centers where Apple now employs about 2,000 people.

Srouji has led Apple’s efforts in building a team of silicon and technology engineers, overseeing the development of new silicon and hardware technologies, including batteries, application processors, storage controllers and other chips, the Apple website says. Part of that team resides in Israel.

Before joining Apple, Srouji held senior positions at Intel and IBM in the area of processor development and design.

“Through Israeli development, Apple manages and streamlines the data storage technology in a range of devices: Wireless communication components for the Apple Watch, as well as the integrated circuits that were developed in Israel, and the jewel in the crown,” Srouji said last month according to Globes.

“The Israeli team played a central role in developing the premium version of the company’s flagship M1 processor, including the M1Pro and M1Max chips designed to support premium Mac computers such as MacBook Pro and MacBook Studio. These chips were built here in Israel while working with other teams worldwide, including at the headquarters in Cupertino,” he added.

Also last month, Apple said it was expanding its engineering R&D hub in the Palestinian city of Rawabi in the West Bank, where it currently employs over 60 engineers.

“By creating more opportunities for Palestinian engineers, we saw a way to help address an important regional matter while advancing Apple’s core values,” Srouji said at the time, according to CTech by Calcalist.

“At Apple, we are committed to inclusion and diversity across our global workforce,” added Srouji. “We know that to sustain meaningful change, it must be good for business as well. Finding talent in the Palestinian Authority expands the pool of qualified engineers, which helps us meet the needs of our growing business.

Apple currently has over 100 open positions in Israel.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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