It was reported on December 17 that Apple was hiring wireless chip engineers in Irvine, California, USA, or involving RF, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips, where Broadcom and Skyworks also have offices.
It is speculated that Apple plans to develop its own RF, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips to replace related components of Broadcom, Skyworks and Qualcomm. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the recruitment plan, and representatives of Broadcom and Skyworks have not yet formally responded. However, after the report, Skyworks shares plunged 11%, Broadcom and Qualcomm both fell more than 4%.
Apple is the big gold owner of many chip manufacturers. Data shows that Apple-related revenue accounts for 60% of Skyworks’ revenue. For Broadcom, 20% of its revenue comes from Apple-related businesses. The $15 billion wireless component supply agreement reached by Broadcom and Apple in early 2020 will expire in 2023.
There is also Imagination, a British GPU designer. Apple’s decision to start self-developing GPUs in 2017 almost bankrupted Imagination. It was not until 2020 that the two parties reached a new license agreement.
This is not the first time Apple has entered the field of wireless chips. The most famous before is definitely the entanglement between Apple and Qualcomm on modems (to follow domestic customs, collectively referred to as baseband below). Although the split and recombination of the two parties did not improve the iPhone’s criticized signal problem, after Apple purchased Intel’s baseband division for $1 billion, the rumors of Apple’s self-developed baseband have never stopped.
Apple has already made custom parts on AirPods and Apple Watch before. Since iPhone 11, Apple has also been equipped with U1 UWB ultra-wideband chip on a large scale. The latter is used for near-field precise positioning. Apple has also released the use of Bluetooth and UWB technology. AirTag “anti-lost device”.
The main reason why Apple’s job information will involve Broadcom and Skyworks is the place of Irving and Apple’s historical habits. In addition to the offices of Broadcom and Skyworks in Irvine, NXP is also here (Apple mobile payment uses NXP’s NFC chip), and the University of California, Irvine, which is famous for radio frequency-related engineering projects, is also here.
Apple has the habit of setting up offices near suppliers, and sometimes this is the first step in Apple’s replacement. In the past, Apple set up a chip office in Portland, Oregon near the Intel building, in Austin, Texas and Orlando, Florida (AMD), in Haifa and Herzliya, Israel (with Intel engineers), and in Germany The same operation is located near Infineon’s headquarters in Munich. In addition, Apple invested in power management chip company Dialog semiconductor Plc in 2018 and took over hundreds of employees in the UK and Italy.
Apple is still expanding everywhere. Its headquarters is in Cupertino, but it also has many employees in San Diego (where Qualcomm is headquartered), and it has expanded its recruitment to chips, smart homes, Displays, and software. Apple also has Apple TV+ and other digital services-related branches in Los Angeles, and an office to develop AR augmented reality in Newport Beach near Irvine.
Apple, a behemoth with a market value of nearly $3 trillion, is devouring everything upstream and downstream.
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