Apple rumored to be moving iPhone baseband chip design in-house

Apple rumored to be moving iPhone baseband chip design in-house
According to industry sources, Apple is putting together an R&D team to develop baseband processors for the Apple iPhone to be released in 2015. Based on Apple's current pattern of releasing a minor "s" update every other year, the new in-house designed processor would debut on the Apple iPhone 6s. Apple will design the chip and will turn to rival Samsung and other global foundries to actually manufacture it. Currently, Apple purchases baseband chips from Qualcomm, which are produced by TSMC.

While there is some speculation that Apple will design a SoC that will include AP and baseband chips, the industry sources say that the odds favor Apple continuing to use discrete baseband chips. If Apple decides to go ahead with the in-house design, the decision will have a financial impact on both Qualcomm and TSMC. The sources say that Qualcomm is the leading player in the $16 to $19 billion global baseband market, with a larger than 50% slice of the pie.

The baseband processor manages all of the radio functions on a handset, like the Apple iPhone. Any function that requires the use of an antenna will go through the processor.

source: DigiTimes

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8 Comments

1. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

hmm may be a good move

2. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Obviously a good move, it allows for them to move design in house allowing better physical and functional integration with other components in their devices. Plus it probably saves money in the long run. But this might make them an entrant into the broadcast technology patent arena and that is where all of humanity suffers for it.

3. Lampriya

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 05, 2013

The best tech company in the world!!! Where is the love, haters?

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Ask Finalflash, his iWatch prediction is priceless.

5. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Good luck Apple....basebands arent something to play around with for phones. We saw how Maps turned out when it launched. They better, need to have a more successful launch of this. A shoddy baseband can turn your phone into a personal media player, mini tablet. Turn the iPhone into the iPod Touch. They are gonna have to test the hell out of this. I am shocked that they didnt do this already seeing what happened with Antenna Gate. Whats wild is the iPhone 4 was an attempt at an in house design for the antenna.... Dont make the same mistake Apple...

6. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Something to keep in mind is all of the patents Qualcomm holds in that arena. Apple might have some issues making that work, and it might involve paying QC anyway, unless they use them without permission.

8. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Qualcomm? They'll also have to pay Moto, Nokia, and prob Sony due to erickson as well. Dumb. If true this is just another example of apple not wanting to share the glory with anyone. They just can't stand giving credit to anyone for their success.

7. whburling

Posts: 14; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

baseband is part science (predictable models underpinning design) and part art (baseband design performance is not always predictable through a model). Taking control over the design of such a vital function which has unpredicable performance seems questionable. Is taking on a function already provided by a company which has considerable experience worth the risk? Keep in mind that the radio function is also very restricted by standards. Thus the opportunity to make dramatic changes is not readily apparent. Apple has demonstrated considerable skill and success in chosing design parameters that make use of phone easy, consistent, and robust albeit giving up features and technology that does not support those basic usability goals (that creates the illusion Apple is falling behind). personally I would invest in very immediate radio technology that will continue the migration of computing power from large devices (ie: workstations, pc) to smaller devices (ie: cell phones) to even smaller devices (watches, toasters, and even newer small devices). I also suspect that the visual domain, which apple has dominated will be replaced within a decade removing the need for finger actuated phones that are held and contain the visual display. if the display is a projection on the human retina and the interface is voice or some other newer possibility then Apple's visual command of the product space will have been displaced. That thought is far more threatening and has greater impact on Apple than any broad band design investment.

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