As part of its decentralization process from Cupertino, Apple is establishing a new office to develop wireless chips in Irvine, Southern California. Bloomberg reports that the tech giant is hiring engineers with experience in modern chips and other wireless semiconductors for the new facility. It is expected that Apple is planning to replace current wireless chips suppliers like Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Broadcom Inc which also have offices in the same vicinity.
In 2020, Apple introduced iPhone 12 series with 5G connectivity powered by 5G modems from Qualcomm. The first 5G iPhone models were a huge success and their strong demand boosted Qualcomm’s third-quarter 2020 earnings with a 37.6% YoY increase, accounting for $4.967 billion.
But the increase in profit might be for the short term for Qualcomm because reports stated that Apple is developing custom-built cellular modem for LTE and 5G connectivity in future iPhone and iPad models, as early as 2023. And the new report reconfirms those claims.
Apple hunts for talents in Irvine to remove dependence on wireless chips suppliers
According to the new report, Apple will achieve two goals with the establishment of the new office to develop wireless chips: to hire talent outside of Cupertino and make its own components.
It’s part of a broader strategy of expanding satellite offices, letting the tech giant target engineering hotbeds and attract employees who might not want to work at its home base in Silicon Valley. The approach also has helped Apple further its goal of making more of its own components.
Previously, it was reported that the high living cost of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California (Silicon Valley) is leading to a talent drain from the region which has made it difficult for the tech giant to hire and retain competent engineers and forced the company device a decentralization plan.
Apple’s decentralization plan includes domestic and international expansion. Company’s online service chief, Eddy Cue is investing in multiple Los Angeles offices and a location in Nashville. Similarly, Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, “is discussing the cost benefits of a more global workforce, and Deirdre O’Brien, the retail and HR chief, has evangelized for the diversity benefits.”
Furthermore, the tech giant is planning to add wireless modems to its list of custom-built components like A-series chips for iPhone and iPad and M1- series chips for Macs. The report states:
But staffing up in Irvine is the latest sign 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’ll also develop semiconductors for connecting to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Those are all components currently provided to Apple by Broadcom, Skyworks and Qualcomm.