Apple Builds New Team of Engineers in California to Bring More Wireless Chips In-House


Apple is hiring engineers to develop wireless chips for a new office in Southern California that could eventually replace components supplied by Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions.

The company is looking for a few dozen people to develop wireless chips in Irvine, where broadcom, Skyworks and other companies. Recent job listings show that Apple Wanted employees with experience in modem chips and other wireless semiconductors.

It’s part of a broader strategy to expand satellite offices, allowing the tech giant to target engineering hotbeds and attract employees who don’t want to work at their home base in Silicon Valley. The approach has helped Apple further its goal of making more components of its own.

Shares of wireless-chip makers fell on Thursday after Bloomberg reported on the effort. Skyworks is down up to 11 per cent, its biggest intraday drop since March 2020. Broadcom and Qualcomm Each declined by more than 4 percent.

Apple’s interest in hiring talent related to a particular technology is usually bad news for existing providers. The company has increasingly touted the importance of its in-house chip designs in making its products unique. IntelThe industry’s largest company has joined a list of chip makers that have lost their grip on Apple products.

In 2018, Apple began recruiting engineers in San Diego, home of Qualcomm. Two years later, Apple chip chief Johnny Srouzi told employees that the company was eventually developing its own cellular modem to replace Qualcomm’s offerings.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on Irvine Push. Representatives for Broadcom and Skyworks did not respond to requests for comment.

Irvine’s expansion is in its early stages, and Apple plans to gradually increase its presence. The company is still working on its company-wide return-to-office plans. Just on Wednesday, Apple extended its February 1 deadline for corporate employees to go back 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 over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. All those components are currently provided to Apple by Broadcom, Skyworks and Qualcomm.

The effort builds on Apple’s earlier work in wireless chips. AirPods And apple watch already includes custom parts that let them pair with devices, and Apple’s latest iPhone The handset includes U1 ultra-wideband chips to more accurately pinpoint its location and connect with airtag Accessories and other products.

“Apple’s growing wireless silicon development team is developing the next generation of wireless silicon!” Call a job listing. Another says that employees will be at the center of a wireless SoC design group with a “significant impact on getting Apple’s cutting-edge wireless connectivity solutions across millions of products.”

Apple, and the iPhone in particular, is a major source of revenue for chip makers. In early 2020, Apple and Broadcom reached a $15 billion (about Rs 1,14,340 crore) supply agreement for wireless components, which expires in 2023. Apple accounts for about 20 percent of Broadcom’s sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Skyworks is even more dependent on Apple, which makes up about 60 percent of its revenue, data shows.

Irvine — located in Orange County, south of Los Angeles — is also home to the wireless chip design offices for NXP Semiconductors N.V., another company Apple may hire engineers for. Apple currently relies on NXP’s near-field-communication chips for mobile payments.

This office is also near the University of California at Irvine, which is known for its engineering programs.

Apple will emerge from the pandemic in a less centralized form. While Cupertino remains the heart of the company, it has turned San Diego into a bigger hub. Apple has added headcount and expanded hiring beyond chips into smart home technology, displays and software.

It’s also expanding into Los Angeles, hiring to hire employees. Apple TV+ and other digital services. And Irvine has an office in Newport Beach for the development of augmented reality content from its NextVR acquisition.

Apple has a history of setting up Office near existing suppliers—in some cases, the first step toward eventually replacing them.

This includes its operations in Portland, Oregon, near Intel buildings, as well as 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 has also prompted Apple to open new offices in Massachusetts, where Skyworks has offices, and Japan, where chip makers such as 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 started moving away from Intel chips for Mac devices, while designing their own in-house camera and display technologies. Apple bought Intel’s modem unit for $1 billion (about Rs 7,620 crore), setting the stage for a replacement component from Qualcomm.

Apple’s chip development strategy has allowed the company to create devices with unique features, increasing its market value to nearly $3 trillion (approximately Rs 2,28,67,800 crore), and making its chip unit now its most prized possession. considered one of the properties. But the strategy has not been without its setbacks.

Apple had a public dispute with UK graphics chip designer Imagination Technologies Group in 2017 after transitioning to its own custom graphics processors. This move by Apple nearly bankrupted Imagination. In 2020, a licensing agreement was signed between the two companies.

– With assistance from Ian King.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP


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