Apple Moving From Intel's Infineon to Qualcomm for Next-Generation iPhone Cellular Chip?

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Late last month, Intel announced that it will acquire the wireless unit of Infineon, Apple's longtime supplier for the iPhone's baseband controller for supporting cellular connectivity. At the time, Intel CEO Paul Otellini noted that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was "very happy" about the pending acquisition.

Unwired View reports on an article [Google translation] in the China Times claiming that Apple is planning to ditch Infineon's solutions in favor of ones from Qualcomm for use in the fifth-generation iPhone.

Up until now, the baseband chip supplier for the iPhones and the iPad 3G has been Infineon, a company recently acquired by Intel for a boatload of cash. And the fact that they were Apple's supplier has to have had some impact on the size of that pile of cash.

Well, that may have been money better spent on something else, since it seems that the baseband chips for the iPhone 5 will come from Qualcomm, not Infineon. Apple will continue to design the application processor themselves (like they did with the A4 inside the iPad, iPhone 4 and the newest iPod Touch).

Qualcomm is most-widely known for its development of CDMA technology such as that used by Verizon and Sprint for their cellular networks. A Verizon-compatible iPhone has been the subject of long-standing rumors, with Apple reportedly having contracted with Qualcomm for CDMA chips for use in a Verizon iPhone set for launch early next year.

Consequently, speculation is naturally drifting toward Apple making the full changeover to Qualcomm if that company can also supply acceptable GSM chips, or perhaps even a single hybrid chip capable of supporting both standards.

Related Forum: iPhone

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