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Custom iPhone baseband chips seen as too 'herculean' a task for Apple to tackle in-house - Page 2

post #41 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

 

GSM will probably be phased out after LTE. There's already talk of carriers alrady switching off their 3G networks but none would even dream of getting rid of GSM. GSM is too reliable and it's dirt cheap to deploy. It's a great fail safe.  

Very true. An LTE only iPhone without GSM or CDMA for voice in the U.S. would be practically useless as a phone. There may come a time when voice over LTE is the de facto standard but that is many years away. The comment to which you replied was beyond idiotic because he actually thought he was prescient and in fact couldn't be more wrong. 

post #42 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimpsen View Post

Anyone doubting the difficulty of doing baseband (for technical and legal reasons) need only look to Intel to get a head-check. Even after acquiring Infineon's baseband group, Intel's baseband business is still 1/10th the size of Qualcomm's. The ratio is far worse if you narrow the focus to LTE.

 

Perhaps this also provides additional insight as to why Apple doesn't use Intel chips for iOS device CPUs?

If Apple can't get what it wants, it goes elsewhere. If Apple can't get it elsewhere, it makes it. 

post #43 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post
 

 

Perhaps this also provides additional insight as to why Apple doesn't use Intel chips for iOS device CPUs?

If Apple can't get what it wants, it goes elsewhere. If Apple can't get it elsewhere, it makes it. 

More likely because Intel didn't have suitable chips available when they started iOS. If they had, things might have been very different.

post #44 of 72
Based on Apple's history, this is nothing. Apple went from 68K to PowerPC to x86; it is perhaps the only mega cap tech company that is able to transition their core product's CPU architecture not once but twice. Every other so-called "high tech" company has failed: SGI, MIPS, Sun et al.

I suspect this has to do with some major "breakthrough" tech coming from Artemis Networks called pCell and Apple is just getting ready to incorporate this into their devices.

Demo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eMBBVG-MNY
post #45 of 72

Stupid is as stupid does.  Just another analyst talking out there arse about what they don't understand.

 

Gee nobody thought apple could shock the world with the first custom 64 bit mobile processor and full 64 bit Mobile os to go with it either  but look where we are.  Look at Touch ID Apple sure made that work too!  Look at the pathetic attempt on the GS5 for a fingerprint sensor.

 

This is well within Apples scope to do this as is just about anything else.  And they have the money to back it up and pay for it.

post #46 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post
 

More likely because Intel didn't have suitable chips available when they started iOS. If they had, things might have been very different.

 

So now Apple is designing their own, suitable chips, which is exactly my point.

Or as the saying goes:

"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were soup and nuts, we'd all have a wonderful Christmas."

post #47 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creep View Post
 

Who said anything about an unlimited budget?

 

Apple has the most unlimited budget in tech today, as long as they don't blow money on companies like Square or Netflix.

post #48 of 72
If apple succeeds at this, it's another integrated part in their wheelhouse. They can make it talk with their own services and hardware, they can push their agenda in this space, if they have a breakthrough idea - no one else will get it, unlike other manufacturers who all buy the same off the shelf parts. Any company that apple buys a part from will dictate their agenda, and sell the same tech to any other company. Hard to differentiate in that space.
post #49 of 72
If apple wasn't making chips, do u think they could have developed a 64 bit phone without a soul in the world expecting it?
post #50 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsewell View Post
 

 these "...guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in."

 

The CEO of Palm?

post #51 of 72
Not to mention that an LTE only device could only be sold on very specific markets and would be way to unique to be sold.
post #52 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by RS9 View Post

Brian Modoff, what if Apple started this project several years ago? Your premise that they haven't started yet is shortsighted.

 

Apple's track record over the last 17 years? Green lighted years ago.

post #53 of 72

Wow, you resort to ad hominem attacks to make your point?!  You do not deserve a response.  :rolleyes:

 

Besides that, unsurprisingly, you missed the point.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

 

You're an idiot if you believe that. GSM will probably be phased out after LTE. There's already talk of carriers alrady switching off their 3G networks but none would even dream of getting rid of GSM. GSM is too reliable and it's dirt cheap to deploy. It's a great fail safe.  

post #54 of 72

Another ad hominem attack, keep it up, you will receive no response or respect for that behavior.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by soulsearcher View Post
 

Very true. An LTE only iPhone without GSM or CDMA for voice in the U.S. would be practically useless as a phone. There may come a time when voice over LTE is the de facto standard but that is many years away. The comment to which you replied was beyond idiotic because he actually thought he was prescient and in fact couldn't be more wrong. 

post #55 of 72

It would be in Apple's character to release an LTE/LTE-Advanced ONLY device.  This would serve to move carriers forward with the full implementation of LTE/LTE-Advanced & VoLTE, of course such a device would favor carriers with the biggest LTE footprint, which looks like Verizon today...  Removing legacy support could enable other features like more band support, size reduction, battery life savings and other benefits like speed.  

 

Of course Apple would probably delay the release of the LTE centric device(s) until there is a bit more LTE penetration...

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drunkzombie View Post

Not to mention that an LTE only device could only be sold on very specific markets and would be way to unique to be sold.
post #56 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post
 

I fully expect Apple to release an LTE/LTE Advanced ONLY device in the near future.  You heard it here first.  

 

Watch the carriers squirm.  ;)

 

That would make customers leave, and AAPL shareholders squirm. The phone needs to work reliably anywhere, after all.

post #57 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

It would be in Apple's character to release an LTE/LTE-Advanced ONLY device. This would serve to move carriers forward with the full implementation of LTE/LTE-Advanced & VoLTE, of course such a device would favor carriers with the biggest LTE footprint, which looks like Verizon today... Removing legacy support could enable other features like more band support, size reduction, battery life savings and other benefits like speed.

Of course Apple would probably delay the release of the LTE centric device(s) until there is a bit more LTE penetration...

Having Apple screw over their entire customer base just to get to MNOs to spend billions on furthering their LTE rollouts is not a sound solution. It would hurt Apple and customers. Even if this did cause MNOs to take immediate action it would be years before the rollout would cover every are at that '2G' GSM and CDMA now covers. On top of that, the chips are small, inexpensive and power efficient that that they cause amuck bigger downside for not being included than being included.

This would also means that the next iPhone wouldn't have any native voice capabilities as VoLTE isn't yet available. It would be FaceTime Audio calls for those that happen to be on an LTE or WiFi network. VoLTE will happen but there is absolutely no reason for it to happen now that make your desire for the destruction of the iPhone as a product and dissatisfaction of its users a desirable objective.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #58 of 72

Oh for pete sake. Yes Most analysts are dump. But what is being said here is certainly not.

 

Yes, designing the baseband isn't harder then CPU. But it certainly is another area with its sets of engineering challenges that has many different trade off compare to CPU or even GPU. But do remember Apple did not design its CPU / GPU from scratch. Those were IPs bought and they made custom design to it. So yes, if they decide to make one from scratch it certainly is a herculean task

 

Then there is the front end, where for most parts is still Analog. a.k.a Qualcomm RF360 parts. You get much better results if both front and back end are from the same vendor. Simply because they optimize the heck out of it.

 

Apple could also buy IP just like they did with CPU and GPU. CEVA would certainly be the better option. But i dont see how the front end is going to play out. Because I dont see Apple going to make one themselves and test every god damn combination of wireless standard out there. 

 

So as someone has pointed out, in an increasingly data oriented Mobile network, I see Apple likely making an LTE only option. And if that is the case, it will likely give carrier 2 years to make the move and improve, while they work on their own LTE parts.

post #59 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post

So Apple will have some of the best minds working on baseband chips with a pretty much unlimited budget and they will fail how?

 

I can't see how it would take 5 years and 1,000 engineers. I assume the technology is already known. In order for the analyst to know what the requirements are, they would have to know Apple's intent.

 

For instance, Apple could use some IBM self-programming chips that change to morph into various Basebands -- allowing one phone to work in many different locations. The same tech has been used to create self-adapting antennas because one design does not work best for every frequency. The antenna breaks and adds connections in a  pattern that is best designed for a specific signal -- so one antenna can be optimized for different carriers. I'm not absolutely sure this is in use -- but I was reading about the tech about 10 years ago.

 

My thought on Apple's goal here;

There's probably a lot of legacy cruft in the Baseband chips and a lot of functions that could be optimized that work for most cell phone systems -- reducing energy use and improving performance. Then Apple would have "images" of baseband configs that are connected or disconnected (via software PROM -- as is their style). 

 

I'm not a Basband pro, but I suspect that most of the tech is FRAND now or not too expensive to license --  or else Apple wouldn't be trying to do this.

 

I'm betting Apple did their homework and the analyst has done less homework -- as most tech analysts in the media are about as accurate as monkeys with darts.

post #60 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post
 

Oh for pete sake. Yes Most analysts are dump. But what is being said here is certainly not.

 

Yes, designing the baseband isn't harder then CPU. But it certainly is another area with its sets of engineering challenges that has many different trade off compare to CPU or even GPU. But do remember Apple did not design its CPU / GPU from scratch. Those were IPs bought and they made custom design to it. So yes, if they decide to make one from scratch it certainly is a herculean task

 

Then there is the front end, where for most parts is still Analog. a.k.a Qualcomm RF360 parts. You get much better results if both front and back end are from the same vendor. Simply because they optimize the heck out of it.

 

Apple could also buy IP just like they did with CPU and GPU. CEVA would certainly be the better option. But i dont see how the front end is going to play out. Because I dont see Apple going to make one themselves and test every god damn combination of wireless standard out there. 

 

So as someone has pointed out, in an increasingly data oriented Mobile network, I see Apple likely making an LTE only option. And if that is the case, it will likely give carrier 2 years to make the move and improve, while they work on their own LTE parts.

 

The most important fact to include here is that Apple is trying to make their own Baseband chip. So that means they think it is do-able and cost effective. The Baseband is what does all the handshaking and data transfer with the cell tower -- so it isn't likely rocket science -- just more like tax accounting and every state has it's own rules.

 

" You get much better results if both front and back end are from the same vendor. Simply because they optimize the heck out of it." I'd have to take your word on that. Since there doesn't seem to be a lot of competition, it's also possible that Baseband chips are the weak link on cell phones and are old and crusty with little emphasis on performance since everyone buys from a few vendors who own the market.

 

"I see Apple likely making an LTE only option."

>> I think that's very possible. They can get rid of a lot of useless energy consumption and optimize for LTE. They may also have a regular baseband chip and an Apple LTE and one or the other is activated depending on towers -- a trick Apple used for graphics cards on laptops based on whether they were plugged in or running on batteries.

post #61 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post
 

 

I can't see how it would take 5 years and 1,000 engineers. I assume the technology is already known. In order for the analyst to know what the requirements are, they would have to know Apple's intent.

 

For instance, Apple could use some IBM self-programming chips that change to morph into various Basebands -- allowing one phone to work in many different locations. The same tech has been used to create self-adapting antennas because one design does not work best for every frequency. The antenna breaks and adds connections in a  pattern that is best designed for a specific signal -- so one antenna can be optimized for different carriers. I'm not absolutely sure this is in use -- but I was reading about the tech about 10 years ago.

 

My thought on Apple's goal here;

There's probably a lot of legacy cruft in the Baseband chips and a lot of functions that could be optimized that work for most cell phone systems -- reducing energy use and improving performance. Then Apple would have "images" of baseband configs that are connected or disconnected (via software PROM -- as is their style). 

 

I'm not a Basband pro, but I suspect that most of the tech is FRAND now or not too expensive to license --  or else Apple wouldn't be trying to do this.

 

I'm betting Apple did their homework and the analyst has done less homework -- as most tech analysts in the media are about as accurate as monkeys with darts.

 

Yeah, I can't imagine 5 years and 1000 engineers too. Simplistic math: 1000 eng x $200000 per eng x 5 year = $1b investment. Maybe if they are starting zero, but they obviously are not, and they are hiring people who have done it before, and there is IP that can be licensed. So turnaround time could be 3 years with a lot less engineers, and something on the order of $200m instead.

 

And how does one quantify the difficulty level of design and implementing a CPU, a GPU, a SoC, and a baseband chip anyways? If you have the right people, it could be remarkably easy and cost effective. If you have the wrong people, it'll fail.

 

Apple does have a lot of economic and design reasons to do it, and it's inevitable that they'd do it when we say they designed their own SoC, and especially obvious when they designed their own CPU. The GPU is probably next, presuming that design a better one than the contemporary ImgTec one. After that, the radio chipset.

 

Currently, Apple has a Qualcomm chipset residing on their iOS device PCBs. It's not small. It takes up about as much space as the SoC and the storage, and it costs money. If they can implement one on the SoC, it saves them room on the PCB, saves them on the cost of the device from component costs to engineering/integration work, and they have a chance to make it better than an off-the-shelf one. So, lots of good reasons for them to do this.

 

Lastly, I think they are already doing something like this for their wristband project. If there ever was a device that needed an integrated and super low power WiFi and Bluetooth chipset/baseband into an SoC, it'll be this wristband thing. They've likely been working on it for a 2 or 3 years now, and it is the thing that Bob Mansfield has been heading up for awhile.

post #62 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post
 

 

Yeah, I can't imagine 5 years and 1000 engineers too. Simplistic math: 1000 eng x $200000 per eng x 5 year = $1b investment. Maybe if they are starting zero, but they obviously are not, and they are hiring people who have done it before, and there is IP that can be licensed. So turnaround time could be 3 years with a lot less engineers, and something on the order of $200m instead.

 

And how does one quantify the difficulty level of design and implementing a CPU, a GPU, a SoC, and a baseband chip anyways? If you have the right people, it could be remarkably easy and cost effective. If you have the wrong people, it'll fail.

 

Apple does have a lot of economic and design reasons to do it, and it's inevitable that they'd do it when we say they designed their own SoC, and especially obvious when they designed their own CPU. The GPU is probably next, presuming that design a better one than the contemporary ImgTec one. After that, the radio chipset.

 

Currently, Apple has a Qualcomm chipset residing on their iOS device PCBs. It's not small. It takes up about as much space as the SoC and the storage, and it costs money. If they can implement one on the SoC, it saves them room on the PCB, saves them on the cost of the device from component costs to engineering/integration work, and they have a chance to make it better than an off-the-shelf one. So, lots of good reasons for them to do this.

 

Lastly, I think they are already doing something like this for their wristband project. If there ever was a device that needed an integrated and super low power WiFi and Bluetooth chipset/baseband into an SoC, it'll be this wristband thing. They've likely been working on it for a 2 or 3 years now, and it is the thing that Bob Mansfield has been heading up for awhile.

 

Bingo!

post #63 of 72

Did everyone forget that the holy grail of LTE is an ALL-IP system, if the carriers get it implemented fully in the near future...  

 

How do you figure VoLTE is not yet available?!  MetroPCS (now part of T-Mobile) already has been doing VoLTE for years:

http://gigaom.com/2012/10/11/t-mobile-will-maintain-metropcss-volte-service-but-its-future-is-up-in-the-air/

 

AT&T is launching VoLTE in 2014:

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/att-admits-volte-delay-wont-offer-new-launch-date/2014-02-26

 

Who said it will be the 'next' iPhone, or that it will even be a phone?!  I think it would actually more likely be an iPod Touch or iPad or something different, initially at least...  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Having Apple screw over their entire customer base just to get to MNOs to spend billions on furthering their LTE rollouts is not a sound solution. It would hurt Apple and customers. Even if this did cause MNOs to take immediate action it would be years before the rollout would cover every are at that '2G' GSM and CDMA now covers. On top of that, the chips are small, inexpensive and power efficient that that they cause amuck bigger downside for not being included than being included.

This would also means that the next iPhone wouldn't have any native voice capabilities as VoLTE isn't yet available. It would be FaceTime Audio calls for those that happen to be on an LTE or WiFi network. VoLTE will happen but there is absolutely no reason for it to happen now that make your desire for the destruction of the iPhone as a product and dissatisfaction of its users a desirable objective.

Edited by libertyforall - 4/15/14 at 1:47pm
post #64 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Did everyone forget that the holy grail of LTE is an ALL-IP system, if the carriers get it implemented fully in the near future...

How do you figure VoLTE is not yet available?! MetroPCS (now part of T-Mobile) already has doing VoLTE for years:
http://gigaom.com/2012/10/11/t-mobile-will-maintain-metropcss-volte-service-but-its-future-is-up-in-the-air/

Who said it will be the 'next' iPhone, or that it will even be a phone?! I think it would actually more likely be an iPod Touch or iPad or something different, initially at least...

1) Availability with a wireless standard refers to widespread adoption, not a remote, isolated usage.

2) Did GSM die the moment the first UMTS tower arrived? Of course! There is no mutually exclusivity to these standards so having '2G' with '3G" and '4G' are perfectly acceptable.

3) This is an email so posting your reply above the comment you're responding to makes no sense.

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post #65 of 72

Apple implementing the first laptop WiFI was a 'remote, isolated usage' according to your definition, but it is the standard today...  

http://www.design-laorosa.com/2013/02/history-first-laptop-with-wifi-apple.html

 

Vision, it is what brings us the future.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) Availability with a wireless standard refers to widespread adoption, not a remote, isolated usage.

2) Did GSM die the moment the first UMTS tower arrived? Of course! There is no mutually exclusivity to these standards so having '2G' with '3G" and '4G' are perfectly acceptable.
post #66 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Apple implementing the first laptop WiFI was a 'remote, isolated usage' according to your definition, but it is the standard today...
http://www.design-laorosa.com/2013/02/history-first-laptop-with-wifi-apple.html

Vision, it is what brings us the future.

Except that you're comments aren't about adding something but removing something that works well in certain areas and as a backup to newer tech that isn't yet universally available. Apple didn't remove 802.11b when they added 802.11g capability.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #67 of 72

But Apple DID remove PowerPC emulation from OS X in time...  Ending 2G/3G support for carriers provides various benefits including repurposing spectrum.  

 

Another leapfrog like VoLTE is RCS, which seems to replace SMS/MMS and has other new features, another feature MetroPCS was a leader with:

http://www.gsma.com/network2020/rcs/

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Except that you're comments aren't about adding something but removing something that works well in certain areas and as a backup to newer tech that isn't yet universally available. Apple didn't remove 802.11b when they added 802.11g capability.
post #68 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

But Apple DID remove PowerPC emulation from OS X in time... Ending 2G/3G support for carriers provides various benefits including repurposing spectrum.

Another leapfrog like VoLTE is RCS, which seems to replace SMS/MMS and has other new features, another feature MetroPCS was a leader with:
http://www.gsma.com/network2020/rcs/

They eventually removed it once it was used by so few people that it wasn't work maintaining. What you want Apple to do is artificially drop all backwards compatibility from their baseband chips despite this being included on the chips so that Apple's iPhone sales will come to a halt. Did Apple drop SMS and email when they created iMessage? Did Apple drop Safari when they created the App Store? Did Apple drop 802.11n when they added 802.11ac? Why even suggest Apple actively try to destroy themselves?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #69 of 72

I think you need to re-read my previous comments, since you think I am proposing something different from what I said.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


They eventually removed it once it was used by so few people that it wasn't work maintaining. What you want Apple to do is artificially drop all backwards compatibility from their baseband chips despite this being included on the chips so that Apple's iPhone sales will come to a halt. Did Apple drop SMS and email when they created iMessage? Did Apple drop Safari when they created the App Store? Did Apple drop 802.11n when they added 802.11ac? Why even suggest Apple actively try to destroy themselves?
post #70 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

I think you need to re-read my previous comments, since you think I am proposing something different from what I said.

I suppose that's possible since you're purposely trying to jack this thread by not following basic forum etiquette, but your premise was that Apple should only support VoLTE in their devices to force every carrier in the world to update their systems.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #71 of 72

You still need to re-read my first few posts, you still did not get it accurate, and continue to skew my point.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I suppose that's possible since you're purposely trying to jack this thread by not following basic forum etiquette, but your premise was that Apple should only support VoLTE in their devices to force every carrier in the world to update their systems.
post #72 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


if you wish to restate your point I'll gladly analyze it and be more attentive to it the next time, but I'm not going to look back through the thread to rediscover a point you're not willing to restate.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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