2 Dec 2017 15:20
Apple has been trying to get less dependent on other chip manufacturers in the recent years. Most importantly they started developing their own graphics processing units that were first deployed in this year's iPhone models.
Now, according to Nikkei Asian Review, sources say that Apple is developing another in-house chip that will probably find its way to future iPhones.
This time around the chip is a power management chip that makes sure battery lasts. Apple's work on iPhones has resulted in fairly good battery life, albeit not anything competitors don't have to offer. However, Apple's battery life work has mostly been done in software, thanks to iOS being very optimized, so there is certainly more they can do with semiconductor development.
Previously power management chips have been developed by Dialog Semicoductor. Previous GPUs on the other hand were developed by Imagination Technologies. In addition to GPUs, and now it seems power management, Apple's in-house development consists of designing the SoCs (e.g. Apple A11 Bionic), AI or so called Neural Engine chips, and image processing chips.
One thing they do not design or develop in-house, at least not yet, are the modems that come from Intel.
As Apple has adopted designing their own hardware, the suppliers have been in trouble as the world's largest company (by value) has been a huge portion of their entire business. The best, or worst, example of this was Imagination Technologies who lost half of their business with Apple and soon after had to be sold.
Dialog Semiconductor share price plummeted nearly 20 percent after the news broke, even if it is not yet official. This is, however, not the first time that it has been suggested that Apple will abandon Dialog Semiconductor's chips.