Apple aggressively hiring 4G, 5G wireless engineers in Qualcomm's home turf

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2018
Compounding Qualcomm's legal worries, Apple is reportedly recruiting engineers around the former's headquarters in San Diego for work on processors and wireless components -- areas Qualcomm specializes in.

The RF board for an iPhone XS. | Image Credit: iFixit
The RF board for an iPhone XS. | Image Credit: iFixit


Apple has published 10 related job listings in November so far, in fact representing its first-ever public recruitment for chip design in San Diego, according to Bloomberg. Successful hires will be working on things like wireless chips and the Neural Engine in A-series processors for iPhones and iPads.

In recent years Apple has ramped up its internal chip design, for instance developing the T1 and T2 coprocessors used in Macs. This also includes the development of W-series wireless chips, such as the W3 found in the Apple Watch Series 4.

The revelation that Apple is hiring Qualcomm engineers isn't a particularly new one. Apple has been looking at acquiring Qualcomm talent for years, with AppleInsider looking at it in detail since 2014. More recently,
in 2017, Apple hired Qualcomm's engineering Vice President Esin Terzioglu for a system-on-a-chip project lead position.

Apple is still largely dependent on other companies for wireless technology, however. It used Qualcomm cellular modems for years, beginning a transition to Intel with 2016's iPhone 7. A global legal war over patents and royalties has forced a wedge between Apple and Qualcomm -- the latest iPhones are Intel-only.

Recruiting in the San Diego area could worsen that animosity, but the region is also known for its chip design in general, and Apple is likely eager to be free of all third-party chipmakers. In-house cellular and Wi-Fi would allow Apple to hyper-optimize for its devices, reducing power consumption and meeting exact needs. It would likely still owe patent royalties for some essential concepts.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,428member
    Intel should be concerned as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    sflocal said:
    Intel should be concerned as well.
    Intel will be fine. As long it does not follow Qualcomm’s footsteps.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 8
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,428member
    sflocal said:
    Intel should be concerned as well.
    Intel will be fine. As long it does not follow Qualcomm’s footsteps.
    How so?  If/When Apple starts using its own broadband chips, that will mean it will no longer have a use for Intel's version.  I believe Intel is just an interim solution until Apple is on board with its own chip design.
    caladanianAppleExposedSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 584unconfirmed, member
    sflocal said:
    sflocal said:
    Intel should be concerned as well.
    Intel will be fine. As long it does not follow Qualcomm’s footsteps.
    How so?  If/When Apple starts using its own broadband chips, that will mean it will no longer have a use for Intel's version.  I believe Intel is just an interim solution until Apple is on board with its own chip design.
    Yeah it's coming. I don't believe Intel with file for bankruptcy but I bet most of their money comes from Apple. Also, A12X+ chips are getting closer to Intel.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,808member
    Not easy to wake up and decide to design and build 5G cellular modem chip. If Apple had already decided long time back to do so than Apple will make it happen. Wish Apple had hired engineers to design build all of needed components in-house..
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Yes, I think Apple has tried to work with Intel but it  always seems like Intel stabs them in the back. Do you remember when Apple switched from Motorola to Intel and the success Apple was having with their laptops because they were slim and looked so much better? Intel started subsidizing manufactures to make "ultra notebooks" basically Apple like laptops thus preventing a huge market share grab by Apple. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    sflocal said:
    sflocal said:
    Intel should be concerned as well.
    Intel will be fine. As long it does not follow Qualcomm’s footsteps.
    How so?  If/When Apple starts using its own broadband chips, that will mean it will no longer have a use for Intel's version.  I believe Intel is just an interim solution until Apple is on board with its own chip design.
    Ideally, Apple should absolutely own all of their most critical components.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,112member
    I’m not so sure it would be a good idea for Apple to make its own cellular modem chips. 

    With things like the processors, T2 chip, etc, there are clear advantages to designing them in house. For a cellular modem, the integration with the rest of the components isn’t as tight, and ultimately the specs are determined by the cellular network compatibility. In addition, Intel and Qualcomm can spread their development costs over the entire mobile phone market. Apple can only spread it across their own products, making it much harder to get a return on their investment. With intel introducing viable competitors to Qualcomm’s chips, there is actual competition in the market which should drive prices down as well, making the ROI that much longer
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