Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

Apple steps up in-house modem efforts

Apple steps up in-house modem efforts

Apple Inc has moved its modem chip engineering effort into its in-house hardware technology group from its supply chain unit, two people familiar with the move told Reuters, a sign the tech company is looking to develop a key component of its iPhones after years of buying it from outside suppliers. That's the phone's modem, which was previously a Qualcomm-exclusive contract before Apple moved to Intel parts, while simultaneously engaging Qualcomm in a complicated legal battle relating to royalties and patents.

Following the collapse in relations between them it looked like Apple was going to turn to Intel for all its modem needs, but a report from Reuters would seem to indicate that's not the long term plan for Apple, and that it would rather have full control over its modem destiny. These leave little doubt on the seriousness with which Apple is approaching the modem chip sourcing strategy.

According to some sources, Johny Srouji, senior vice president of Hardware Technologies at Apple, took over the company's modem chip design in January. Every year, the brand new A-series processor is faster and more efficient than before, and Apple's A-series chip performance always crushes the same-year chips that power rival Android phones.

Previously Apple's modem chip business was led by Ruben Caballero, who reported to Dan Riccio, the executive responsible for iPad, iPhone, and Mac engineering.

It's unclear when Apple's first modem will be ready, but the endeavor might take years and cost plenty of money, the report says.

According to the latest numbers provided by Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon, modem chips cost between $15 United States dollars and $20, and they will likely cost the iPhone maker between $3 billion to $4 billion for the 200 million devices it sells annually.

Reuters does make one interesting remark at the end of the article.

Apple may also benefit by combining its modem chips with its processor chips, as Samsung, Huawei and most other phone makers do. But there's no clear connection between modem design and AR products. So the move to design its own modem, should Apple choose TCMS to manufacture it, could essentially be as simple as cutting out a middle man.

How on Earth are iPads this cheap right now at Amazon?

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