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Apple Working On Own Power Management Chips: What Does This Mean For The iPhone?

12 April 2017, 8:00 am EDT By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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Reports claim that Apple is is working on in-house designed power management chips that may be used in iPhones as early as 2019. Apple is increasingly looking to own its core technologies instead of acquiring components from suppliers.  ( Sean Gallup | Getty Images )

Apple is seemingly moving forward with plans to develop and produce its own technology, with reports claiming that it is now working on its own power management chip.

The news comes after Apple decided to drop Imagination Technologies as a supplier, as the company was planning to design its own graphics chips.

Apple Developing Own Power Management Chip

According to a research note by analysts from Bankhaus Lampe, Apple has tapped 80 of its engineers to work on a power management integrated circuit, or PMIC.

The new PMIC may make its appearance in iPhones as early as 2019, the analysts claimed, citing unidentified sources from the industry. The chip is said to be under development in California and Munich, with reports claiming that Apple is trying hard to recruit top engineers from Dialog to work in Munich.

The main loser in the news is Dialog Semiconductor, the British company that previously supplied power management chips to Apple. The main characteristics of Dialog's chips were efficiency and the ability to improve battery life, but Apple is now looking to create its own chips. This has caused the stocks of Dialog to plunge, as the company makes around 74 percent of its sales come from Apple.

There is no clear evidence that Apple will be completely dropping Dialog as a supplier, though, with Bankhaus Lampe analysts saying that the replacement of Dialog's chips might be done just in part.

Apple Looks To Own Core Technologies

Apple only recently told Imagination Technologies that it will stop using its graphics chip. Combined with the reported power management chip development and the ongoing lawsuit against Qualcomm over modem licensing fees that suggest Apple's plan to use modems designed in-house for future devices, it appears that Apple is looking to own its core technologies instead of acquiring components from suppliers.

With Apple selling hundreds of millions of units of the iPhone annually, it would make sense for Apple to start looking into designing and developing its own chips so that new technology can be introduced to devices faster. In-house designed Apple chips will also allow for quicker customization and deployment to future products of the company.

Apple will be able to gain more control over release timing and pricing for components that it will design in-house and will allow its devices such as the iPhone to better differentiate from other options in the market. While several smartphones may use Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, the technology that will be found within the iPhone will only be exclusive for that certain device.

Apple To Address iPhone Battery Life Concerns

The alleged move of dropping Dialog as a supplier and designing its own power management chips may have been spurred by several power management issues that have been reported for iPhones, including how the iPhone 7 lagged behind other flagship smartphones in the market in terms of charging speed and battery life.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will be able to eliminate battery life and power management problems in iPhones with its in-house designed chips. Customers will have to wait until 2019 to find out for sure.

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