Apple selects Qualcomm baseband chip for iPhone 5, ditches Infineon/Intel?
Rumors indicate that Apple has already begun designing the next-generation iPhone, which I’ll call iPhone 5 from here on. This, of course, makes sense, as the average time from the start of the design process to market in the mobile phone business is 18 months. So even if Apple work faster, they still would need to have started already.
The same rumors indicate that the Hon Hai Group (better known as Foxconn in some parts of the world) will continue to be the iPhone’s manufacturer and as such will be making the iPhone 5 as well. Orders for the iPhone 5 are expected to take up a large portion of their production facilities.
This was also to be expected. What is rather unexpected though, if these rumors are confirmed, is that Apple may be switching their baseband chip supplier for the iPhone 5.
Up until now, the baseband chip supplier for the iPhones and the iPad 3G has been Infineon, a company recently acquired by Intel for a boatload of cash. And the fact that they were Apple’s supplier has to have had some impact on the size of that pile of cash.
Well, that may have been money better spent on something else, since it seems that the baseband chips for the iPhone 5 will come from Qualcomm, not Infineon. Apple will continue to design the application processor themselves (like they did with the A4 inside the iPad, iPhone 4 and the newest iPod Touch).
And it may make a lot of sense if Apple also dumped Infineon’s baseband solution from the iPad 3G at some point in the future, since such contracts are rarely signed for one product alone.
Interestingly, this may all have something to do with that ever-elusive CDMA iPhone. If Apple were to make a CDMA iPhone (for the likes of Verizon and/or Sprint in the US), they would more or less have to go with a Qualcomm baseband chip (since they invented CDMA). And if Apple were to use said baseband chip from Qualcomm in the CDMA iPhone, it would also make a lot of business sense to use Qualcomm solutions in the GSM versions of their product line as well.
However speculative, this may just be one more small confirmation that the CDMA iPhone is, indeed, coming. Sometime.
Via Commercial Times