Friday, Dec 17, 2021, 16:51 Mac: Hardware

"The Next Generation Of Chips" – Apple Fortifies Its Chip Team With New Blood

Nearly twelve years have passed since Apple presented its first in-house processor. The 2010 iPad's A4 was mostly a slightly adapted ARM design, however, Cupertino made some significant steps forward with the chip. The company ended up even developing its powerful ARM-based M-chips counted amongst the most powerful chips on the market, all as a result of the initial A4 project. For Apple, the initial development of its own chips was a consequent step – it freed the company from reliance on external parties, especially useful when external production demands can change the desired course of a product cycle. Apple's large financial reserves also allow it to continue longterm, billion dollar research projects – some of which even stem from initially humble endeavors such as the A4.

Even More Ambitious Than Processor Development?
Apple's next alleged step is to produce its own cellular chips. The relevant project's, required time, resource, personell investment, and ambition is more than comparable to that of traditional processor development – especially in terms of the time required for testing. Over two years ago, Apple acquired Intel's modem division for the comparably low price of one billion US dollars. Although Cupertino is currently dependent upon Qualcomm for its cellular chips, in due time, all components for the iPhone and iPad should come from Apple's own laboratories.

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Chip Team Sees Significant Expansion – Suppliers Concerned
Current job advertisements indicate that Apple is currently seeking to expand its chip team considerably. Bloomberg references "a few dozen" engineering positions in a Californian research facility that Cupertino is looking to fill as soon as possible. According to the descriptions, chips for Bluetooth, WiFi, RF-circuits, and other radio technologies should soon see development in Irvine (near Los Angeles). The reports have meanwhile caused a little bit of unrest in the stock exchange. In only a short matter of time, Qualcomm stock sank by four percent, and Skywork, another important supplier, forfeited eleven percent. Twenty percent of Qualcomm's sales come from Apple and an even heftier sixty percent of Skywork's sales. Given that Apple intentionally wrote that the development of the next generation of "Wireless Silicon" would be part of the new positions' duties, the aforementioned developments on the stock market come as no surprise. Skyworks and Qualcomm are likely to see an Apple exodus sooner rather than later.

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