Yet another Apple chipmaker may be ready for the chop

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iPhone 7
Apple sure seems to love in-sourcing.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

After reportedly distancing itself from GPU maker Imagination Technologies and power-management chip company Dialog Semiconductor, Apple  may next ditch Synaptics in its quest to bring chip production in-house.

The California-based Synaptics builds interface technologies, driver displays, and biometric tech. Most crucially, however, it also owns the iPhone display driver chipmaker company Renesas, which it bought back in 2014.

It’s worth noting that, so far, only Imagination has revealed that it is indeed parting ways with Apple. Dialog Semiconductor says that its relationship with its key customer Apple hasn’t changed, despite what reports claim.

As far as “evidence” for Apple and Synaptics separating, there’s just a research note from analysts at Credit Suisse, who rank the chance of “in-sourcing” from Apple as being “medium to high risk.” This is because it would allow Apple to, “optimize power and performance with its internal graphics engine.”

Credit Suisse rated other Apple suppliers RF Suppliers and Skyworks Solutions as having a “low” risk of being in-sourced, while Cirrus Logic carries a “medium to low” risk.

Apple reportedly considered a buyout of Renesas back in 2014, with the idea that this would help it improve the iPhone’s display “sharpness and battery life,” according to Japanese business site Nikkei.

At the time, we noted that Apple sourced its LCD chips from Renesas, and that instead of using it as an outside contractor, Apple wanted to bring production in-house. However, the deal was scuppered when Synaptics instead bought the company for $475 million.

By building its own custom chips, the idea is that Apple would be able to better control R&D as well as lowering its margins, thereby making more profit.

Source: Business Insider