Apple Building Chip Team to Bring More Wireless Component Production In-House

Apple is creating a new office that will focus on wireless chip production as the company works to bring more of its chip development in-house, reports Bloomberg.

Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad
Apple is hiring a few dozen engineers for an office in Southern California to develop components that may eventually replace parts that are currently sourced from companies like Broadcom, Skyworks, and Qualcomm. The office is located in Irvine, California, which is close to Los Angeles and where major chip makers are located.

Based on job listings, Apple is seeking employees who have expertise in modem chips and wireless semiconductors, and at the facility, employees will work on wireless radios, radio-frequency integrated semiconductors, and semiconductors for connecting to Bluetooth and WiFi.

"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."

Apple in 2020 signed a multi-year deal with Broadcom, which was set to last for three and a half years, which means it will expire in 2023. Under the terms of the deal, Broadcom supplies Apple with "range of specified high-performance wireless components and modules."

When the contract expires, Apple will no longer need to use Broadcom components and can instead rely on its own components.

Apple has been working to bring more of its chip production in-house to reduce its reliance on third-party suppliers. Apple is fairly far along on its development of a 5G modem chip, for example, and when work on that chip is complete, the company will be able to stop sourcing 5G chips from Qualcomm.

Current rumors suggest that Apple's modem chips will be ready for use in the 2023 iPhone models, so Apple will continue to use Qualcomm chips for the iPhone 14 lineup.

Longtime Apple supplier TSMC will manufacture the Apple-designed 5G modems for the 2023 iPhones, and Qualcomm has already acknowledged that it expects to supply only 20 percent of the modems for the 2023 iPhone, with Apple largely relying on its own 5G chips.

Top Rated Comments

827538 Avatar
7 months ago

I’m not convinced that designing every low cost part themselves is a good move, I think that headcount would be better suited for other things, those things that don’t exist today…
Cutting edge cellular modems are anything but low cost. These are not commodity chips, there's essentially a single vendor (Qualcomm) producing cutting edge 5G modems with excellent performance, and everyone else like Mediatek is playing catch up. Even Intel couldn't catch Qualcomm.

There's a lot of commodity chips for things like Bluetooth, WiFi, power regulation etc etc. Integrating these into a single RF chip actually makes a ton of sense. Less power usage, hopefully better performance, less space on the PCB, less diodes and capacitors feeding those individual chips. It all adds up. Also I bet Apple is paying more for Qualcomms X60 than they are paying TSMC to produce their A15.

I doubt they'd integrate the A chip with a cellular chip as the die size would hurt yields. But having an A series processor and say a C series modem/RF chip is 100% where Apple is heading. They've been steadily integrating chips together, like a T2 chip incorporating a SSD controller, decryption etc etc then incorporating that into the A/M chips,
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
827538 Avatar
7 months ago

Apple has a new multi-million dollar campus that's not being fully utilized due to staff working from home, and they need to add yet another office? Seems puzzling to my. Why is close proximity to other chip makers important?
Close proximity to where chip engineers live. Easier to poach talent when the talent doesn't have to move.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
7 months ago
Thinking about applying for the job. Thanks.

In-house chipset. Hopefully for the new iPhones? Let’s get it!!!

See you in another world Intel and Qualcomm. It’s game over!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ducknalddon Avatar
7 months ago

I’m not convinced that designing every low cost part themselves is a good move, I think that headcount would be better suited for other things, those things that don’t exist today…
I don't know, modems look strategic for a phone company that owns half of the market.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
7 months ago
A lot of Macs seem to lose support once Broadcom decides they don't want to deliver new Wi-Fi drivers, so it'll be interesting to see if in-house chips change that from a support cycle standpoint.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
7 months ago

In an ideal world everything inside an Apple device would be designed in-house. So everything except manufacturing I guess :)
Apple will get there..
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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