Apple creates team in new office to bring in-house wireless chips
The company is looking for a few dozen people to develop wireless chips in Irvine, where Broadcom, Skyworks, and other companies have offices. Recent job postings show that Apple wants employees with experience in modem chips and other wireless semiconductors.
It’s part of a larger strategy to expand satellite offices, allowing the tech giant to target engineering homes and attract employees who might not want to work at its Silicon Valley headquarters. The approach has also helped Apple pursue its goal of making more of its own components.
Apple’s interest in hiring tech-related talent is generally bad news for existing vendors. The company has increasingly touted the importance of its internal chip designs in making its products stand out. Intel Corp., the largest company in the industry, has joined a growing list of chipmakers who have lost their grip on Apple products.
In 2018, Apple began recruiting engineers in San Diego, the headquarters of Qualcomm Inc. Two years later, Apple chip chief Johny Srouji told employees the company was developing its own cellular modem to eventually replace the offerings. by Qualcomm.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on Irvine’s push. Representatives for Broadcom and Skyworks did not respond to requests for comment.
Irvine’s expansion is still in its early stages and Apple plans to gradually increase its presence. The company is also still working on its company-wide return-to-the-office plans. Apple on Wednesday alone lifted its Feb. 1 deadline for company employees to return to work in person.
But staffing at Irvine is the latest sign that Apple is bringing more technology in-house. Engineers will work on wireless radios, radio frequency integrated circuits, and a wireless system on a chip, or SoC. They will also develop semiconductors to connect to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These are all components currently supplied to Apple by Broadcom, Skyworks and Qualcomm.
The effort builds on Apple’s earlier work in wireless chips. AirPods and Apple Watch already include custom parts that allow them to pair with devices, and Apple’s latest iPhones include U1 ultra-wideband chips to more accurately pinpoint their location and connect to the AirTag accessory and to other products.
“Apple’s growing silicon wireless development team is developing the next generation of wireless silicon! »Indicates a job offer. art wireless connectivity solutions in hundreds of millions of products. “
Apple, and the iPhone in particular, is a key source of revenue for chipmakers. In early 2020, Apple and Broadcom reached a $ 15 billion supply agreement for wireless components that ends in 2023. Apple accounts for about 20% of Broadcom’s sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Skyworks is even more dependent on Apple, which accounts for nearly 60% of its revenue, according to the data.
Irvine, located in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, is also home to wireless chip design offices for NXP Semiconductors NV, another company that Apple may be hiring engineers for. Apple is currently relying on NXP’s near-field communication chips for mobile payments.
The office is also located near the University of California at Irvine, known for its engineering programs.
Apple will come out of the pandemic in a less centralized form. Although Cupertino remains the heart of the business, it has made San Diego a more important hub. Apple has added staff and extended hires there beyond chips to smart home tech, displays and software.
It is also expanding in Los Angeles, hiring employees to work on Apple TV + and other digital services. And he has an office in Newport Beach, near Irvine, for the development of augmented reality content for his NextVR acquisition.
Apple has a habit of setting up offices near existing suppliers – in some cases, as a first step towards their eventual replacement.
This includes its chip offices in Portland, Oregon, near the Intel buildings, as well as its operations in Austin, Texas and Orlando, Florida, where Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has campuses. And it has expanded to Haifa and Herzliya, Israel, where Intel has engineers, and Munich, Germany, where Infineon Technologies AG is headquartered.
Srouji also pushed Apple to open new offices in Massachusetts, where Skyworks has offices, and in Japan, where chipmakers like Toshiba Corp. have design centers. In 2018, Apple invested in Dialog Semiconductor Plc, which specializes in power management chips, and acquired hundreds of employees and offices in the UK and Italy.
Last year, the company began to move away from Intel chips for its Macs, while designing its own camera and display technologies. Apple also bought the modem from Intel for $ 1 billion, paving the way to replace the component from Qualcomm.
Apple’s chip development strategy has enabled the company to create devices with unique features, pushing its market value to nearly $ 3 trillion, and its chip unit is now considered one of its most valuable assets. But the strategy has not been smooth.
Apple had a public dispute with UK graphics chip designer Imagination Technologies Group Plc in 2017 after switching to its own custom graphics processors. Apple’s move left Imagination almost bankrupt. In 2020, the two companies entered into a licensing agreement.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.
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