Apple pauses development of its own WiFi chips

Apple ceases WiFi chip development

Apple is reportedly taking a step back in the development of WiFi chips. The company is now focusing on its A and M chips. So says Ming-Chi Kuo.

Earlier this month became known that Apple is working on its own Wi-Fi chips. With this, the company wants to reduce its dependence on external suppliers. The company did this earlier by replacing Intel – formerly the main supplier of processors for Mac devices – with Apple Silicon. The tech giant is now taking a step back in times of economic instability and upcoming technological developments. Broadcom will therefore continue to supply WiFi and Bluetooth chips to Apple for the time being. So says Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo writes that progress in the development of Apple’s own WiFi chips is ‘not forthcoming’ for the time being. However, according to the analyst, Apple plans to pick up the thread in the long term. Apple uses this – say both Kuo and Bloomberg-journalist Mark Gurman – a different strategy. The focus is no longer on separate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips: the company wants to develop a combi-chip with both technologies in it. This allows Apple to significantly cut the production costs of chips on the one hand, and the space they take up on the motherboard on the other.

Challenges of new Wi-Fi techniques

The fact that Apple has now decided to develop such a combi-chip comes with the necessary challenges. Challenges that, according to Kuo, are not desirable right now. With the arrival of Wifi 6E and Wifi 7, Apple would shoot itself in the foot by immediately coming up with a Wifi and Bluetooth chip. The company would therefore continue to purchase the necessary chips from Broadcom for the foreseeable future.

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The fact that Apple is tied to Broadcom for WiFi 6E and possibly 7 does not do the company any harm. That modem vendor is said to be “the biggest winner” of the Wi-Fi 6E upgrade on the iPhone 15 series.

Apple focuses on A and M series chips

With the postponement of WiFi chips for iPhones, Apple is also creating room to focus on its A and M-series chips. “A delay in processor upgrades is unfavorable,” says Kuo. Apple should therefore focus on developing its upcoming A and M-series chips based on TSMC’s 3nm architecture. That architecture promises significant speed and efficiency gains, gains that Apple will benefit from if it ‘optimizes’ its architecture sufficiently.

According to Kuo, the fact that Apple has postponed the WiFi chips will have little strategic disadvantage. However, Apple is still dependent on parties such as Broadcom for WiFi and Bluetooth chips for a little longer.

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