Apple Bringing More iPhone Chip Development In-House [Rumor]

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Apple is reportedly planning on creating an R&D team to develop baseband chips for future iPhone models, according to a new rumor from Digitimes.

Baseband chips, for those who don’t know, are used to control a device’s radio functions related to modulation, signal generation, and more.

If the rumor is to be believed, these chips could debut with the round of iPhone updates following the iPhone 6 — which would mean they could arrive with the iPhone that, by current naming standards, will be called the iPhone 6s.

The baseband chip is separate from the A7 processor, which Apple already designs with an in-house team. Qualcomm is the company that Apple currently acquires its baseband chips from, although they are produced in mass quantities at Apple manufacturing partner the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Both companies would be affected if Apple decides to go in-house for future iPhone iterations.

While rumors from Digitimes can often be taken with a pinch of salt, Apple has been increasingly bringing its chip development in-house — beginning with the mobile processors for the launch of the iPad. It also purchased a division of Renesas Electronics which specializes in display chips for smartphones, and low-power wireless chip maker Passif Semiconductor, which may be used for the iWatch.

All of these moves allow Apple to better control its own core technologies and production supplies.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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