Since the baseband chip works alongside the processor, integrating it into one package will lead to improvements in power efficiency.
Did a little more research on the Qualcomm RF360 and it appears to be ready for mass production now. I will be very surprised if this is not what Apple uses for the iPhone 6. This would be the holy grail.
The WTR1625L, a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., is the first in the industry to support carrier aggregation with a significant expansion in the number of active RF bands. The WTR1625L can accommodate all cellular modes and 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE frequency bands and band combinations that are either deployed or in commercial planning globally. Additionally, it has an integrated, high-performance GPS core that also supports GLONASS and Beidou systems. The WTR1625L is tightly integrated in a wafer scale package and optimized for efficiency, offering 20 percent power savings compared to previous generations. The new transceiver, along with the Qualcomm RF360 Front End chips, is integral to Qualcomm’s single-SKU World Mode LTE solution for mobile devices.
Indeed the RF360 is ready for mass production, both Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 808 and 810 support the chip.
"Analyst Brian Modoff"
Any reason why the RF360 could not be made to work with the A8 in an iPhone 6? Found this about the iPhone 5
"Right next to the Qualcomm MDM9615M is the Qualcomm RTR8600 multi-band/mode RF transceiver. The RTR8600 is paired alongside the MDM9615 to support various bands, including 5 UMTS bands, and over 5 LTE and 4 EDGE bands."
What would be so hard or different about getting RF360 support in an iPhone versus all the other Qualcomm baseband chips Apple has been using in past models?
Not in a million years will that ever happen. Just the fact that Qualcomm is used by so many companies for products alone is enough to keep Apple away. But Broadcom might not be a bad fit for Apple.
One possibility which occurred to me that I haven't seen anyone mention is whether this is a reactive move on Apple's part due to Qualcomm behavior. I think the shift to 64 bit processing caught Qualcomm seriously off guard; they recently came out and said they're going with an ARM A57 design for their next (64-bit) mobile CPU instead of their previously custom Krait cores. IIRC, a custom-core 64-bit mobile CPU is coming _after_ that, but not until later 2015, which is like, forever away (about the time of Apple's A10, I'd say)
Seeing that Qualcomm has more non-Apple sales than Apple sales, I wouldn't be totally surprised if Qualcomm decided to try to make things a little difficult for Apple in integrating their broadband chips into iPhones. Not sure how, but I'll bet they could do it, just to even out the playing field a bit to please their other non-Apple customers, and save face a bit after the 64-bit shocker. And maybe Tim Cook's rational response was "fine- you know, we can bring this in-house too, if that's really what you want us to do".
Whether that would actually happen, and what's involved in that, I dunno. But Cook is a supply-chain guy, and if he sees suppliers (coughSamsungcough) messing with Apple, he's already shown he's ready and willing to bring that business elsewhere.
Edit above: "baseband" not "broadband"...
The purchase price of Qualcomm would be somewhere above about $150 Billion. While Apple has a ton of cash, that cash is spread around the world, and repatriating it for a purchase would result in a reduction due to taxes.
Further, if Apple were to purchase Qualcomm, they'd need to decide what they wanted to do with it. Either it makes money (meaning they continue to do business with Apple's competition), or they only serve Apple, in which case $150 Billion is a hell of a lot of money (plus annual costs) to buy the chips they'd use.
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.
Look at your post above. See the little pencil icon next to the red flag, that is the edit button.
Thanks- never noticed that before ; )
Its not about CPU or tech.
Its about patents. Talent migration. Need-to-innovate-our-own-thing.
The only thing I am confident about is that analysts have no idea what Apple is doing.
As it was pointed out, the same thing could have be said about a CPU especially a multi-core CPU, it loaded with technologies and patent landmines. If we look back in time, people were probably saying apple would never make their own process with a long list of reasons why.
It completely obvious, it has all the so call experts scratching their heads wondering what this all could mean. With a $170B in the bank do not second guess what Apple is up to, they are the only company who has the $ and talent to pull things off that others would deem impossible.
Apple couldn't do this from scratch and certainly not quickly. They'd need to find the PA Semi of the baseband world to buy. I don't really know who that is. Qualcomm are too big to be bought, most of the others are too incompetent.
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.