Starting with 2015 iPhone models, Apple may use its custom radio chips, Digitimes reveals, as the company is apparently forming an R&D team to work on baseband chips, which are responsible for handling wireless connectivity on a handset including cellular radios responsible for LTE. Designed by Apple, these chips would be built by Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundaries, according to “industry sources.”
The publication also mentions that while a different rumor says Apple wants to include the application processor and the baseband processor into a single system-on-chip (SoC) in the future, “it is more likely that Apple will continue to use discrete baseband chips.”
The company is currently using baseband chips made by Qualcomm for existing iPhone models. Qualcomm, which currently makes over 50% of baseband chips, builds them with TSMC. The sources that spoke to Digitimes indicate that both Qualcomm and TSMC are expected to be negatively affected by Apple’s decision to develop its own baseband chips, as the baseband chips industry is worth from $16 billion to $19 billion a year.
Following the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, Apple is expected to launch iPhone 6-branded models this year, with the 2015 flagship likely to be an iPhone 6s handset.