Apple: In-house chip for Bluetooth and WLAN in the works

At the latest, the outbreak of the corona pandemic has shown how dependent electronics manufacturers are on functioning supply chains and contract manufacturers. Many companies have therefore started to produce their own components in the recent past – probably in order to set themselves apart from the monotony of the competition. Apple is a pioneer in this area. The US group has been producing the chips for its iPhone itself for many years. In 2020, the company also began to break away from the chip manufacturer Intel and successfully launch its own silicon processors for its Mac computers and iPads. Now the Californians are probably expanding this approach further.
As the Apple expert and Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman reports in a recent article, citing anonymous insiders, the company is currently developing its own chip for the WLAN and Bluetooth functionality in its devices. It should be used from 2025 and replace the components currently used by the supplier Broadcom. Such a development would be a major setback for him, Apple is Broadcom’s largest customer and was responsible for 20 percent of sales in the past fiscal year. Apple’s switch to its own components would be a massive economic cut for the semiconductor manufacturer, which is also based in California.

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Qualcomm is also threatened with Apple’s exit

According to the report, it is not much better for its competitor Qualcomm. It supplies Apple with mobile modems for iPhone production and, according to the report, generated 22 percent of its sales in the 2022 financial year. According to Gurman, Apple will also cut the connection here in late 2024 or early 2025 and introduce its first modem from its own production. This has been in the works for quite some time in the modem division acquired by Intel in 2019 and should have appeared earlier. In fact, however, the development turned out to be more difficult than expected. Now, however, Apple seems to be getting closer to its goal.

If Gurman’s statements are correct, the manufacturer is already working on a successor chip for the two new developments. It is supposed to combine a cellular modem, Bluetooth and WLAN in one component. It will be many years before this version appears. According to Gurman, the transition to the in-house modem alone will take several years. Initially, Apple apparently only wants to supply its Pro models with its own hardware and only gradually bring the other variants on board. For the time being, the new chips do not mean a complete Apple end for Broadcom either. The company supplies the iPhone group with chips for wireless charging, among other things. However, Apple is already working on its own solution here.

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