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Custom iPhone Baseband Chip Unlikely to Debut in Next iPhone, says J.P. Morgan

Rod Hall, the new Apple analyst at J.P. Morgan who recently suggested that Apple should put a keyboard on the iPad, believes that a custom iPhone baseband chip is unlikely to debut in the new iPhone models before 2015, due to its “notoriously difficult” nature of development, AppleInsider is reporting. He added that Apple’s choice to produce its own wireless modems is likely motivated by a desire for increased power efficiency.

Chip

In recent months, Apple has hired away a number of baseband hardware and software engineers from Broadcom, a silicon based company who has struggled to produce an LTE modem of its own. Earlier this week, DigiTimes also reported that the Cupertino company has plans to create a R&D team for baseband chips to implement into iPhones for 2015. The analyst therefore suggests that Apple has the ability and “internal know-how to attract the talent” necessary to successfully develop its own modem technology.

“Qualcomm, Apple’s current baseband vendor, has done just that with its Snapdragon processors, and Hall believes the company would likely be open to a licensing arrangement that would allow Apple to integrate Qualcomm baseband IP on A-series cores. Such an arrangement would be beneficial to Qualcomm, as Apple is believed to have accounted for approximately one quarter of Qualcomm’s 2012 revenues and losing that business would represent a significant financial hardship.”

Apple is also believed to be at least a year ahead of Qualcomm in developing mobile processors as evidenced by its desktop class A7 chip that powers the iPhone 5s, iPad mini with Retina display and iPad Air.

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