Apple may abandon Intel's Infineon chips in next iPhone - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The next iPhone may forgo an Infineon baseband chip in favor of one from Qualcomm, according to an unconfirmed report.



The Commercial Times reported (Google translation) earlier this week that Infineon will not provide the baseband chip for the fifth-generation iPhone. Infineon's wireless unit was sold to Intel for $1.4 billion in August.



According to the report, the next-generation Apple smartphone, which is expected next year, will still be manufactured by the Hon Hai Group and Foxconn, and will include a Qualcomm baseband chip this time around.



A move away from Infineon would break with precedent. Infineon has supplied Apple with the baseband chip for the iPad 3G and all of the Cupertino, Calif., company's iPhone models since the smartphone was first released in 2007.



There has been little indication of trouble in the relationship between Infineon and Apple. After the Intel-Infineon deal, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told Fox Business that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was "very happy" with it.



On the other hand, relations between Apple and Intel have been tense as of late. Otellini made comments earlier this week criticizing the newly released Apple TV as a "step backward," especially when compared to the Intel-powered Google TV products set to be released this month.



A Qualcomm broadband chip would match rumors that Apple is developing a CDMA iPhone. Qualcomm invented the now widely-used CDMA technology. A cryptic "iPhone developer guru" job posting on the Qualcomm website in August claimed that respondents would work on "the most challenging product" of their lives.



Several analysts see a switch to Qualcomm by Apple as the right move. In light of the Intel-Infineon deal, "Apple may want to diversify its supplier base to reduce dependency on a single supplier," said Manikandan Raman with the Motley Fool.



With a dominant 69 percent share of the CDMA mobile phone chipset market, Qualcomm would be the "logical choice" to help Apple expand to other networks, said Barclays Capital analyst Andrew Gardiner. "Infineon's wireless unit doesn't offer chips for CDMA technology."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Steve Jobs is happy that Intel bought Infineon, but according to this unconfirmed report, apple may soon abandon Intel's Infineon chips for the next generation iphone? am i missing something?
  • Reply 2 of 54
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    I saw this coming. We might see Apple buy Qualcomm too.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    I doubt it is one or the other. They may use Infineon for AT&T and Qualcomm for Verizon. Intel will still have the larger slice of the pie because GSM is more popular worldwide. If Qualcomm managed to make a "world" chip, things might be different though.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    While the report makes it sound like Apple is leaving Infineon as a result of the Intel buyout, it was probably going to happen anyway. Qualcomm has a combo chip capable of both GSM and CDMA use. Assuming Apple doesn't want to fragment it's handset market by introducing a separate CDMA-only phone, and assuming that a two-chip solution is out of the question, AND assuming that Apple does indeed want to get into CDMA carriers, then we are left to ASSUME that they are going with Qualcomm because Qualcomm has the tech that Apple needs. Therefore, Intel's buyout of Infineon really has no significant bearing on the issue.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    First off iPhone 5 has been in development for some time by now.



    Second even if Apple use the qualcom hardware in iPone5 the still have other products using 3G.



    Third there is no reason for Apple to create bad blood with Intel. Sure Intel has been very stupid of late with their policies but you deal with that by buying AMD chips.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    I doubt it is one or the other. They may use Infineon for AT&T and Qualcomm for Verizon. Intel will still have the larger slice of the pie because GSM is more popular worldwide. If Qualcomm managed to make a "world" chip, things might be different though.



    You mean like this one?



    http://news.cnet.com/Qualcomm-goes-g..._3-965521.html
  • Reply 7 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    I saw this coming. We might see Apple buy Qualcomm too.



    Unlikely. Qualcomm is a conglomerate with a very complex corporate hierarchy. Apple's MO is to purchase cheaper, smaller upstarts to both save money, and reduce organizational complexity.



    The only large company I can see Apple buying is Cortex-ARM, and only to prevent Intel from getting their hands on it. Why? So Intel doesn't muck up the ARM intellectual property in the same way that Microsoft bungled up the Danger OS, and some are worried that HP will bungle Palm WebOS. Large companies like Microsoft and Intel have been known to mix in their proprietary, inferior products into the lean, fast item they purchased -- and mess up the product.



    Apple's all-in with the ARM processor in the mobile device market. Apple also believes that mobile devices are the future of computing. Converting to another processor type would be incredibly expensive and time-consuming. It would also require a cross-compiler in every new iPhone that would slow down apps in much the same way as Rosetta did in Intel Macs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post


    Steve Jobs is happy that Intel bought Infineon, but according to this unconfirmed report, apple may soon abandon Intel's Infineon chips for the next generation iphone? am i missing something?



    Qualcomm is the world sales leader in baseband chips for CDMA phones. Apple is making a CDMA version of the iPhone. Qualcomm offers economies of scale to Apple that no other CDMA baseband maker can provide.



    On top of this, Qualcomm also makes very high-quality UMTS/HSPA basebands. It would be cheaper for Apple to go Qualcomm with those basebands, too, and get an even greater economy of scale than they could with Infineon for UMTS basebands, and Qualcomm for CDMA ones. It's all about the Benjamins.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    I doubt it is one or the other. They may use Infineon for AT&T and Qualcomm for Verizon. Intel will still have the larger slice of the pie because GSM is more popular worldwide. If Qualcomm managed to make a "world" chip, things might be different though.



    In time, the world chip is possible. But from what I've heard, the first CDMA iPhone will be CDMA-only. At best, it will have basic 2100 MHz UMTS support, akin to the BlackBerry Tour. Their current multi-band UMTS-CDMA chips are too big for the iPhone, at this time.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    Also, let's not forget that Qualcomm also makes LTE chips as well (they already make GSM/CDMA dual chips, such as those found in Verizon World phones) that are compatible with GSM, CDMA, and LTE networks. This is the infrastructure that Verizon Wireless is supposed to be deploying, starting late this year.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post


    Steve Jobs is happy that Intel bought Infineon, but according to this unconfirmed report, apple may soon abandon Intel's Infineon chips for the next generation iphone? am i missing something?



    You missed the conversation between Otellini of Intel and Jobs:



    Otellini: "Mr. Jobs, Intel is acquiring Infineon's mobil chip division"



    Jobs: "muahahahahahahaha, aaaaaahahahahahaha, muahahahaha"



    Otellini: "I am glad to know that you are happy about this"
  • Reply 10 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post


    At best, it will have basic 2100 MHz UMTS support, akin to the BlackBerry Tour. The current multi-band UMTS-CDMA chips are too big for the iPhone, at this time.



    That's assuming that it had 3G on GSM networks which it may or may not have. The quad-band 2.5G chips that Qualcomm uses is actually small enough for the iPhone. You are right in that their multi-band UMTS-CDMA chips are quite large for the iPhone. But, that's assuming we're talking about what they have out that we know of. For all we know, they may have a smaller one.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post




    Qualcomm is the world sales leader in baseband chips for CDMA phones. Apple is making a CDMA version of the iPhone. Qualcomm offers economies of scale to Apple that no other CDMA baseband maker can provide.



    On top of this, Qualcomm also makes very high-quality UMTS/HSPA basebands. It would be cheaper for Apple to go Qualcomm with those basebands, too, and get an even greater economy of scale than they could with Infineon for UMTS basebands, and Qualcomm for CDMA ones. It's all about the Benjamins.



    i see

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    You missed the conversation between Otellini of Intel and Jobs:



    Otellini: "Mr. Jobs, Intel is acquiring Infineon's mobil chip division"



    Jobs: "muahahahahahahaha, aaaaaahahahahahaha, muahahahaha"



    Otellini: "I am glad to know that you are happy about this"



  • Reply 12 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tezgno View Post


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post


    At best, it will have basic 2100 MHz UMTS support, akin to the BlackBerry Tour. Their current multi-band UMTS-CDMA chips are too big for the iPhone, at this time.



    That's assuming that it had 3G on GSM networks which it may or may not have. The quad-band 2.5G chips that Qualcomm uses is actually small enough for the iPhone. You are right in that their multi-band UMTS-CDMA chips are quite large for the iPhone. But, that's assuming we're talking about what they have out that we know of. For all we know, they may have a smaller one.



    On that last point, perhaps that's what Qualcomm meant by this:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A cryptic "iPhone developer guru" job posting on the Qualcomm website in August claimed that respondents would work on "the most challenging product" of their lives.



    I don't believe that there is a multi-standard chipset now that can fit the needs of the iPhone. Not now. Plus there will be the need to fit LTE in there, someday. Fit multiband LTE, HSPA+, and CDMA support, all into the space of a current Infineon HSPA/UMTS baseband, with acceptable power efficiency? Sounds like a pretty challenging product.



    In the meantime, there is no need for a multi-band GSM radio to get into a CDMA iPhone. No CDMA phone I know of has such support. Basic, single-band 2100 MHz UMTS support is enough to satisfy the needs of international business travelers. That band of that standard is found in practically every major city outside of the Americas (and a few in the Americas, especially in Brazil).



    I figure that the next-gen iPhone will have two versions:



    Version one for CDMA carriers.

    Quad-band 800/850/1900/2100 MHz EVDO Rev. B and Voice over Rev. A.

    2100 MHz UMTS support (perhaps)

    No GSM support of any kind.



    Version two for UMTS carriers.

    Quad-band 800/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

    Six-band 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA+

    No CDMA support of any kind.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    You missed the conversation between Otellini of Intel and Jobs:



    Otellini: "Mr. Jobs, Intel is acquiring Infineon's mobil chip division"



    Jobs: "muahahahahahahaha, aaaaaahahahahahaha, muahahahaha"



    Otellini: "I am glad to know that you are happy about this"



    Nice one.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    I saw this coming. We might see Apple buy Qualcomm too.



    You saw nothing coming and that will never happen.
  • Reply 15 of 54
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,590member
    If Apple change to Qualcomm it will be due to pricing or qualcomm are doing something custom for Apple that infineon won't do.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post


    In the meantime, there is no need for a multi-band GSM radio to get into a CDMA iPhone. No CDMA phone I know of has such support.



    Actually, this is an incorrect statement. The Blackberry Tour, for example, is a multi-band GSM/CDMA phone (I used to own this phone). Taken directly from its specs page:



    Quad-band: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks

    Single-band: 2100MHz UMTS/HSPA networks

    Dual-band: 800/1900MHz CDMA/EVDO Rev A networks



    I think that what you were meaning is that there isn't a CDMA phone that contains multi-band GSM 3G.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,876member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post


    While the report makes it sound like Apple is leaving Infineon as a result of the Intel buyout, it was probably going to happen anyway. Qualcomm has a combo chip capable of both GSM and CDMA use. Assuming Apple doesn't want to fragment it's handset market by introducing a separate CDMA-only phone, and assuming that a two-chip solution is out of the question, AND assuming that Apple does indeed want to get into CDMA carriers, then we are left to ASSUME that they are going with Qualcomm because Qualcomm has the tech that Apple needs. Therefore, Intel's buyout of Infineon really has no significant bearing on the issue.



    Yes, this has been the rumor for some time now. It makes me wonder whether Intel was thinking about that, or whether it didn't cross their mind.



    If Jobs was asked about this deal first, as seems to be the case, it would be odd if they didn't also discuss what Apple might be doing next. I hope for Intel's sake that they didn't buy the company with the expectation that Apple would continue to be a big slice of the business, only to find they've abandoned it. And I hope that if this rumor is true, it isn't true just because Intel bought it. This would be too big a move for Apple to just be doing it out of pique.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,876member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    First off iPhone 5 has been in development for some time by now.



    Second even if Apple use the qualcom hardware in iPone5 the still have other products using 3G.



    Third there is no reason for Apple to create bad blood with Intel. Sure Intel has been very stupid of late with their policies but you deal with that by buying AMD chips.



    What policies of Intel have been stupid of late?
  • Reply 19 of 54
    Quote:

    On the other hand, relations between Apple and Intel have been tense as of late. Otellini made comments earlier this week criticizing the newly released Apple TV as a "step backward," especially when compared to the Intel-powered Google TV products set to be released this month.



    So according to Intel, if they're not Inside, it's a piece of crap.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    So according to Intel, if they're not Inside, it's a piece of crap.



    Well this past year the most significant Intel thing is my Macbook 2ghz Alu. My PC desktop (in hibernation now) is a nice AMD+ATI gaming rig, I've got my iPhone 3GS, my iPad and my satellite TV box ... All these, Intel-free, of course.



    Intel is far from threatened but the storm is brewing on the horizon. They missed the mobility boat. They actually missed the GPU boat but luckily Sandy Bridge will save their ass, plus GPU computing has become less critical a focus when compared to mobile/tablet computing.
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