Saturday, January 29, 2022

Apple will now soon launch its own in-house developed 5G wireless chips

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Apple Inc. is hiring engineers for a new office in southern California that will focus on developing wireless chips that will eventually replace Broadcom Inc. and Skyworks Solutions Inc. components. In Irvine, where Broadcom, Skyworks, and other companies have offices, the company is looking for a few dozen people to work on wireless chips. Apple is looking for employees with experience in modem chips and other wireless semiconductors, according to recent job postings.

It’s part of a larger plan to open satellite offices across the country, allowing the tech giant to target engineering hotbeds and attract employees who might not want to work in Silicon Valley. The strategy has also aided Apple’s goal of producing more of its components. After Bloomberg reported on the initiative, shares of wireless-chip makers fell on Thursday.

Skyworks’ stock dropped as much as 11% in one day, its worst intraday drop since March of last year. Broadcom and Qualcomm Inc both dropped more than 4%. Apple’s desire to hire personnel with expertise in a specific area is usually bad news for existing vendors. The corporation has been emphasizing the value of its in-house chip designs in differentiating its goods. Intel Corp, the industry’s largest firm, has joined a growing list of chipmakers who have lost control of Apple goods.

In 2018, Apple began hiring engineers in Qualcomm’s hometown of San Diego. Apple chip head Johny Srouji informed staff two years later that the business is working on its cellular modem to eventually replace Qualcomm’s. The Irvine expansion is still in its early phases, and Apple intends to progressively expand its footprint. The company’s overall return-to-work plans are still being ironed out. Apple postponed its February 1 deadline for the corporate staff to return to in-person employment.

Staffing in Irvine, on the other hand, is the latest hint that Apple is bringing more technology in-house. Wireless radios, radio-frequency integrated circuits, and a wireless system-on-a-chip are among the projects that engineers will work on (SoC). They’ll also work on developing semiconductors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Broadcom, Skyworks, and Qualcomm are now providing all of these components to Apple.

The project draws on Apple’s previous wireless chip development. Apple’s latest iPhones contain U1 ultra-wideband chips for more accurately pinpointing their location and communicating with the AirTag accessory and other items, and the AirPods and Apple Watch already include unique bits that allow them to pair with devices.

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“Apple’s growing wireless silicon development team is developing the next generation of wireless silicon!” one job listing says.

Employees will be “at the heart 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,” according to another source.

Chipmakers rely heavily on Apple, particularly the iPhone, for revenue. Apple and Broadcom agreed to a US$15 billion supply agreement for wireless components early last year, which will run until 2023. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Apple accounts for roughly 20% of Broadcom’s sales. According to the data, Skyworks is even more reliant on Apple, which accounts for nearly 60% of its revenue.

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Avatar of Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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