Apple is building a billion-dollar 5G chip design center to wean off Qualcomm
Apple is taking a serious step towards expanding its horizons on the 5G wireless frontier. It surprised us today with its announcement of an investment of over a billion dollars for a new state-of-the-art chip design facility in Munich, Germany.
The chosen location for expansion is a logical decision for Apple, as Munich already houses its largest development center in Europe—boasting 1500 engineers from 40 different countries. The facility will be 100% powered by reneweable energy (a tradition Apple began in 2014), and is set to become Europe's biggest development site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software.
In fact, this may be the first step to Apple's plan to phase away from buying Qualcomm modem chips by finally developing their own modems. They have been open about their desire to complete their internal processing ecosystem, having already designed their own in-house A14 SoC (system-on-a-chip)—which houses all of Apple smartphones' microchips except for the modem.
The new facility will cover over 300,000 square feet and is set to open in late 2022. Its green-themed design will reflect Munich's values of "tradition, humanity, and innovation" and sources local materials. According to Apple, this guarantees it a Gold certification in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by launch day.