Apple is hiring wireless chip engineers in Irvine, California. Top chip manufacturers like Broadcom and Skyworks also have offices in this region. According to reports, Apple is hiring these engineers for chip development that may involve RF, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi chips. Bloomberg speculates that Apple plans to develop its own RF, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi chips to replace Broadcom, Skyworks, and Qualcomm’s related components.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the recruitment plan. However, after the report, Skyworks shares plunged 11%, Broadcom and Qualcomm both fell more than 4%. Apple is the big beneficiary of many chip manufacturers. Bloomberg data shows that Apple-related revenue accounts for 60% of Skyworks’ revenue. For Broadcom, 20% of its revenue comes from Apple-related businesses. The $15 billion wireless component supply agreement reached by Broadcom and Apple in early 2020 will expire in 2023.
There is also the British GPU designer, Imagination Technologies. Apple’s decision to start self-developed GPUs in 2017 almost bankrupted Imagination Technologies. It was not until 2020 that the two parties reached a new license agreement. This is not the first time Apple has entered the field of wireless chips.
Apple has made custom parts on AirPods and Apple Watch before. Apple also uses a U1 UWB ultra-wideband chip on a large scale since iPhone 11. This chip is for near-field precise positioning. Apple has also released Bluetooth and UWB technology for AirTag “anti-lost device”.
Apple is devouring everything upstream and downstream.
The main reason why Apple’s job information will involve Broadcom and Skyworks is the place of Irving and Apple’s historical habits. In addition to the offices of Broadcom and Skyworks in Irvine, NXP is also here (Apple mobile payment uses NXP’s NFC chip). Also, the University of California, Irvine, which is famous for radio frequency-related engineering projects, is also here.
Apple has the habit of setting up offices near suppliers, and sometimes this is the first step in Apple’s replacement. In the past, Apple set up a chip office in Portland, Oregon near the Intel building, in Austin, Texas, and Orlando, Florida (AMD), in Haifa and Herzliya, Israel (with Intel engineers), and in Germany (near Infineon’s headquarters in Munich).
In addition, Apple invested in a power management chip company, Dialog Semiconductor Plc, in 2018 and took over hundreds of employees in the UK and Italy. Apple is still expanding everywhere. Its headquarters is in Cupertino, but it also has many employees in San Diego (where Qualcomm is headquartered). It has expanded its recruitment to chips, smart homes, displays, and software.
Apple, a behemoth with a market value of nearly $3 trillion, is devouring everything upstream and downstream.