Apple built custom Bluetooth chip for iPhone 7's wireless earbuds

Apple built custom Bluetooth chip for iPhone 7’s wireless earbuds

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The new iPhone is nearly here.
What Apple's wireless EarPods might look like.
Photo: Miroslav Majdak

Apple has reportedly been building a custom low-power Bluetooth chip specially for wireless earbuds. The chip could make its debut this fall inside the iPhone 7, which is expected to be Apple’s first smartphone without a headphone jack.

Apple has been known to design its own chips when it believes it can do a better job. It has been designing its own processors for iPhone and iPad since 2010, and they continue to deliver performance that’s unmatched by any of their Android-powered rivals.

Its new Bluetooth chip has been designed with energy efficiency in mind, according to Forbeswhich cites a source with knowledge of Apple’s project. “The wireless earbuds will fix a problem that has plagued Bluetooth headphones: limited battery life.”

The chip comes from technology that was originally developed by Passif Semiconductor, a company Apple acquired back in 2013. Apple has been hard at work on it since then and originally planned to release it in 2015, but “performance snags” held it up.

“The way it works at Apple is if it doesn’t work 100 percent, it gets cut,” the source told Forbes. It’s thought the chip has been perfected and is now close to making its debut, but it’s still not certain if it will indeed ship inside the iPhone 7 this fall.

Apple will surely be pushing to make that happen if the iPhone 7 is indeed going to become its first without a headphone jack. Headphones can be connected to the Lightning connector, too, but most users will likely opt for a wireless alternative.

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