According to recent reports Apple is now designing and building its own power management chips that are planned for iPhone models which will debut in 2018 in the market. After bringing its own A-series processors and making a dedicated SIP (System-in-Package) for the Apple Watch this is the next big step from Apple. According to a report by Japanese newspaper Nikkei states that Apple is aiming to cut dependency on third-party suppliers in future by making an in-house power management chip design for its own use which will totally cut the third-party dependency as till now UK-based Semiconductor used to manufacture power chips for all iPhone models till date and the Dialog stock dropped by 19 percent following the news. Moreover Imagination Technologies, the company behind PowerVR series GPUs also received a discontinuation from Apple earlier this year. In an official statement in April, the Imagination Technologies chip designer said that Apple would no longer use its graphics processors in 15 months to two years’ time.
A power management chip is for its charging function, battery management, and energy consumption in an iPhone. Although the present chips work very well and iPhone battery backup is considered the best backup till date in the market but Nikkei report highlights and focuses on in-house development helping Apple integrate hardware and software with better results. It’s a very big chance and opportunity to differentiate itself from competitors such as Huawei and Samsung by executing this idea where future iPhone models get advancement to deliver a longer battery life. Apple has planned to replace partially, or around of half of the existing power management chips with its own semiconductor technology. In a recent interview Dialog CEO Jalal Bagherli refused the rumors of Apple moving away from his company. He stated in May that “The relationship remains very strong, we have been invited for the design of a lot of new products, more than we can choose”.
It is also being heard that Apple is developing its own power management chips for iPhones but the time frame is less certain and the process could get delayed to 2019. Another report suggests that Apple has recruited some top Dialog engineers in Munich for the development of the custom power chips.
Apple was TSMC’s No.1 customer that contributed to 17% in 2016 to overall revenue to the Taiwanese chipmakers and that will grow to around 20% in 2017 and continue to rise in 2018.
The trend of developing custom chips for iPhone models had started earlier only late back in 2008 when Apple acquired Silicon Valley-based PA Semi which resulted in the development of the Apple A4 chip that unveiled in the iPhone 4 in 2010 in the market.
Some have different opinions regarding iPhone power management chips like according Woo Jin Ho the next generation of the iPhone would not come with Apple’s custom chip and it will still use the Dialog power management chips.
Now the year 2018 and 2019 is very interesting to watch iPhone bringing its new ideas and implementing them.