Apple Ramps up Effort to Build Chip Team for Developing In-House Wireless Chips

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Apple is reportedly making more efforts to make iPhone parts in-house. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that the company is setting up a new office space dedicated to developing its own wireless chips for the iPhone.

Gurman says that Apple will reportedly hire a “few dozen people” to develop wireless chips for the iPhone. The employees should have experience designing modem chips and other wireless semiconductors. The engineers will reportedly work on wireless radios, radio-frequency ICs, and a wireless SoC. They will also be tasked with developing semiconductors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to replace components supplied by Broadcom, Skyworks, and Qualcomm.

“Apple’s growing wireless silicon development team is developing the next generation of wireless silicon!” one job listing says. Another says employees will “be at the center of a wireless SoC design group with a critical impact on getting Apple’s state-of-the-art wireless connectivity solutions into hundreds of millions of products.”

The team will work from a satellite office located near the University of California at Irvine. The location happens to be close to the offices of Skyworks and Broadcom, the companies that develop iPhone wireless chips today.

Gurman claims that the move is part of the Cupertino giant’s broader strategy to expand satellite offices and capitalize on the potential of technological innovation and development centers. The satellite offices could also be lucrative for those who aren’t eager to work at the headquarters in Silicon Valley. Since Intel lost its deal with Apple for computer processors, any news of Apple developing in-house components is usually bad news for existing suppliers.

Broadcom could remain in business with Apple for the foreseeable future because it inked two multi-year deals with Apple in January 2020 to supply the iPhone maker with wireless components. Broadcom provided Apple’s radio frequency (RF) components and modules for the iPhone until that point.

That said, heavy dependence on Apple for revenue could spell doom for some suppliers. Over half of Skyworks’ revenue comes from Apple deals. Thankfully, Skyworks has made efforts to reduce its reliance on Apple by signing a $2.75 billion deal with another client. Development of the Irvine office is reportedly in early stages and Apple is yet to confirm plans for it.

[Via Bloomberg]

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