Apple may switch iPhone motion chip orders to German company Bosch


iPhone 7
This could have a big impact on current manufacturer InvenSense.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is reportedly switching some of its iPhone motion sensor orders from InvenSense to German firm Robert Bosch.

It comes as the latest example of Apple shaking up its supply chain, which has already seen Apple distance itself from GPU maker Imagination Technologies and power-management chip company Dialog Semiconductor.

If true, this could have a major impact on InvenSense’s bottom line. Apple currently accounts for around 60 percent of InvenSense revenue, claim supply chain analysts.

Apple isn’t dropping InvenSense altogether, though. According to a report from Bloomberg, Bosch may supply up to half the gyroscopes and accelerometer chips for the new iPhone, with InvenSense supplying the rest. Bosch is no stranger to Apple, being its existing supplier of iPhone barometric pressure sensors.

At present, this is all hearsay, although it’s certainly true that Apple has been tweaking its supplier deals as of late. In addition to the aforementioned “in-sourcing” that Apple has been doing to bring more manufacturing in house, the company has been broadening the number of companies it works with in some cases.

This can mean splitting orders between two suppliers as a way of both protecting against being let down if one supplier fails to deliver components, and also to give Apple more leverage in negotiations.

This week, Imagination Technologies — another jilted Apple supplier which has been designing the company’s mobile GPUs for years — started a “dispute resolution procedure” with the Cupertino company over a licensing standoff.