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Rumor: Apple reportedly developing its own ARM chips and radio modems for Mac and iPhones

By John Law & Cookie Monster - on 2 Oct 2017, 10:15am

Rumor: Apple reportedly developing its own ARM chips and radio modems for Mac and iPhones

Besides designing its own A series chipsets, GPU and AI chip, Apple is said to be expanding its semiconductor capabilities to building  ARM chips for notebooks and modem chips for the iPhones. 

Quoting information from industry sources and analysts, Nikkei Asian Review claims that Apple wants to reduce its dependence on Intel for notebook chips and focus on ARM chips which are more power efficient. 

"Notebooks are becoming thinner, while consumers are demanding better mobility and longer battery life. That gives ARM's architecture, which is known for its power efficiency, a very good opportunity," a chip industry executive said.

Apple is also planning to develop its own modem chips or strengthen related capabilities in this area. However, it is unlikely that we would see Apple-designed modem chips within the next two years as the technological challenges are very high. A veteran chip industry official states that Apple would need "more than a minimum one thousand engineers to work on such a project". 

The move to design its own chips is not unexpected. We've seen how the A11 chipset blew the competition out of the water and help the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X stay ahead. As tech companies compete to outdo each other in the space of AI, this has become even more critical for Apple. 

"No matter if you are Apple or Google, in the era of artificial intelligence, you will need to develop your own algorithms and software to fit your new applications and to build up your ecosystems that have as many partners in as many domains as possible," said Tsai.

This isn't the first time that news of Apple's development of its own ARM chips have surfaced. Rumors about this particular endeavor first popped up about two years ago.

If Apple really develops its own ARM and modem chips, Intel and Qualcomm are going to be affected financially. Qualcomm's earnings have already taken a hit due to the ongoing legal fight with Apple. Although Intel's X86 architecture chips have dominated the industry, losing Apple as a customer could hit its revenues significantly. 

Source: Nikkei Asian Review via AppleInsider.