Talks intensifying, analyst says
(Updated to change "Infineon" references to "Intel Mobile Communications") Intel Mobile Communications is looking to return to producing cellular baseband chips for Apple products, claims Cowen and Company's Timothy Acuri. The analyst says that while Qualcomm currently provides the baseband for Apple devices -- and is expected to hold orders for the rest of 2014 -- talks between Apple and Intel are accelerating regarding inclusion in 2015 iPhones. Acuri suggests that Apple has "re-embraced" Intel, although he also speculates that it may simply be trying to extract better prices from Qualcomm.
Apple gets 3G code in Australian Samsung suit
Apple received important ammunition on Thursday in its defense against Samsung's Australian lawsuit over the iPhone. Both Infineon's owner Intel as well as Qualcomm have both provided source code for their 3G implementations. Apple hopes to show that it's not violating Samsung's 3G patents and will likely try to argue for patent exhaustion, or the idea that the patents' license don't extend further than ann immediate grant to someone else.
Intel widens chip share lead despite ARM rush
Intel has managed to not only hold on to but widen its lead as the world's largest chip designer in the past year, iSuppli determined Monday. By revenue, Intel had seen its revenue in 2011 go up over 20 percent to $48.7 billion dollars despite the effect of the iPad and other tablets. ARM's champion, Samsung, had moved just over half a point to $28.6 billion.
Netherlands immunizes Apple over Samsung case
A District Court in The Hague ruled Wednesday that Samsung could no longer try to sue Apple over 3G. The partial decision reaffirmed a view that Samsung can't sue as long as Apple is willing to reach a licensing deal for 3G. Apple previously said it was willing to take a license but objected to Samsung's offered terms as allegedly unreasonable.
Intel shows hopes for Atom phones ahead of CES
Intel in a rare step gave a hands-on test of its Medfield-based Atom phone and tablet reference designs to MIT. The institute's Technology Review in testing the Android 2.3-based phone called it "powerful and pleasing," noting that it could play "Blu-ray-quality" video with wireless TV streaming and could shoot burst photos at up to 15FPS for 10 shots. It was "on a par" with newer Android and iPhone hardware, according to the close look.
Intel units netbook, mobile, wireless groups
Intel later on Wednesday confirmed talk that it was uniting divisions to boost its poor standing in mobile. The mobile communications, mobile wireless, netbook and tablet, and ultramobile groups under one single mobile and communications group. It would be headed up by Mike Bell, a former iPhone team member who left Apple in 2010, and by ex-Infineon veteran Hermann Eul.
iSuppli teardown shows same price despite 3G swap
A new cost breakdown by IHS iSuppli has given more definitive raw parts costs for the iPhone 4S. A 16GB version of the phone is estimated to cost about $188, or within 50 cents of last year's model when it was new. The switch from an Infineon (now part of Intel) chip to the dual-mode Qualcomm chip had little impact on the cellular chipset, which in total cost about $14 to $15.
Apple sees Qualcomm as key to Samsung patent exit
Apple quietly submitted an ex parte application (below) that it hoped could nullify Samsung's 3G patent countersuits. The filing would let it demand information of Qualcomm to prove that it already had the right to Samsung's 3G patents without having to pay Samsung directly. Qualcomm supplies cellular chipsets for both the CDMA iPhone 4 and every iPhone 4S and, theoretically, is already paying Samsung an amount that would exempt Apple of any cost of its own.
Apple reveals Samsung chip demands
Samsung is holding Apple "hostage" by asking for 2.4 percent on each 3G chip used in the iPad and iPhone, Apple argued in a court hearing in The Hague over Samsung's new counterclaims. Revealing what was supposed to be a confidential term, it said Samsung was deliberately misusing both the royalty rate and the responsibility for its payment to try and oppose Apple's lawsuit, according to Webwereld reporter Andreas Udo de Haes. The company didn't ask for payments at all until 2010, and during talks deliberately violated FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing terms by excluding Apple from a license for the Qualcomm chipsets used in the CDMA iPhone 4 and, presumably future iPhone models.
Apple and Intel cleared to bid on Nortel
Both Apple and Intel have been cleared to bid in Nortel's vital wireless patent auction, contacts slipped out on Friday. After investigations, both have been allowed to go ahead. Ericsson had also been greenlit, according to the Wall Street Journal, and was being accompanied by RPX, a proxy company that buys patents to avoid them being used against its clients.
Production slated to begin in third quarter
The iPhone 5 should begin production in the third quarter, and have two key enhancements over the iPhone 4, industry contacts tell FBR Capital Markets. The first is that the device will use an 8 megapixel camera, based on a CMOS sensor supplied by OmniVision. Sony could be a backup provider, FBR says, in spite of skepticism from other analysts. The company is among other things allegedly unable to produce as many parts as OmniVision.
Attributed to mics, accelerometers, gyroscopes
Apple has become the second largest buyer of MEMS (microelectromechanical system) sensors in the world, claims research firm iSuppli. During 2010 the company bought approximately $195 million worth of MEMS sensors, a 116.7 percent increase over the $90 million spent in 2009. The new figure puts Apple ahead of Nintendo, which slipped 11.5 percent from 2009 to $123 million, and just $5 million shy of Samsung, which grew 46 percent to $200 million.
LTE roadmap makes iPhone with LTE possible in 2012
A chipset that would give the iPhone and other mid-size phones LTE-based 4G should arrive in 2012, president of wireless market analyst group Forward Concepts Will Strauss said in a brief interview Friday. Both Apple's new partner Qualcomm, Infineon (Intel), ST-Ericsson, and other companies should have chips that merge both 3G and 4G into a single part next year. The unification would be necessary not just for size, CNET was told, but to make sure they could gracefully drop to 3G or lower during the period when 4G wasn't ubiquitous.
iPad 2 3G torn down by iFixit
A follow-up teardown of the 3G version of the iPad 2 by iFixit has shown how closely linked Apple's tablets are to their iPhone 4 equivalents. The EVDO-based 3G version is near identical to the Verizon iPhone 4 and has the same dual-mode Qualcomm MDM6600 chipset, although the GSM and HSPA sides aren't being used. The HSPA-based 3G version for AT&T and the world is using an Infineon 337S3833 baseband chip to get online but has upgraded to a newer Broadcom BCM4751 for the GPS chipset.
Intel ultramobile lead Chandrasekher quits
Intel in a surprise update said Monday that its Ultra Mobility Group lead Anand Chandrasekher was leaving the company. It would say only that he was leaving to "pursue other interests" after a 24-year career at the chip designer. Two vice presidents from the Intel Architecture Group, Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, would jointly take Chandrasekher's place effective immediately.
iSuppli and UBM estimate iPad 2 at 326 tops
Analysts have provided somewhat conflicting cost breakdowns for the iPad 2 that nonetheless both put the Motorola Xoom in a poor light. iSuppli said Apple's tablet should cost $323.35 in raw parts for a 32GB, Verizon (EVDO) version or $326.60 for its AT&T (HSPA) equivalent. The HSPA version needs chipsets with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi separate from the Intel/Infineon cellular chip where the EVDO version uses an all-in-one Qualcomm chipset, much like in the Verizon iPhone.
Intel Cougar Point desktop chipset has SATA bug
Intel this morning warned of a serious bug with the Cougar Point chipset that would force it to delay desktop PCs using its Sandy Bridge processors. Those using the 6 series have a flaw that gradually degrades the performance of the SATA ports over time, eventually affecting the speed of hard drives and optical drives. The issue was in hardware and needed a reworking at the factory for a fix.
iTunes already has Qualcomm mentions
A teardown of iTunes' code has given strong hints that Apple already has support for Qualcomm cellular chipsets in its software. AMSS.mbn and partition.mbn files found in the decompile are both unique to Qualcomm's baseband hardware and reportedly a telltale sign that they're being used. The Zibri look doesn't have definitive evidence attaching it to any one device.
iPad 2, iPhone 5 go dual mode 3G, Apple TV 1080p
Apple's iOS device plans may have slipped out in large fashion through a detailed rumor Friday night. The company is now believed to be using dual-mode chipsets for all its cellular devices, including the iPad 2 and iPhone 5. Both are reportedly dropping Infineon entirely for their basebands and would instead use hybrid CDMA and GSM chipsets from Qualcomm; Engadget didn't know which, but the chip designer already has dual-mode parts with EVDO and HSPA+ support that would give it 3G on both CDMA and GSM carriers.
Samsung Galaxy Tab gets US teardown
Samsung's Galaxy Tab was given an American teardown today by iFixit that contrasted the similarity to Apple on the outside with the difference inside. The design is "definitely mimicking Apple" in its shell and has a proprietary dock connector that's virtually identical to the 30-pin layout. Samsung has also unintentionally duplicated Apple's sealed-in design since users need two separate tools to pry open the plastic frame, although it doesn't have retaining clips that could be broken.
iSupply finds Galaxy Tab overpriced versus iPad
Samsung may be charging a premium on the Galaxy Tab despite it actually costing less to make than an iPad, iSuppli estimated today in a cost breakdown. Although the Galaxy Tab is within $30 of a 3G iPad in stores, it only costs about $205.22 in raw parts where Apple's larger 16GB tablet costs $59 more to produce. Analysts indirectly accused Samsung of making an upsized Galaxy S phone but charging a tablet premium.
Apple thought to be snubbing Infineon, Broadcom
Qualcomm will likely subcontract with TSMC -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. -- in order to produce 3G chipsets for next-generation iPhones and iPads, industry executives claim. TSMC uses a 65nm manufacturing process, one which analysts suggest should be enough to satisfy Apple's demands. TSMC itself will neither confirm or deny any plans, except to say that it's currently inundated with orders.
Qualcomm rumored again in iPhone plans
Talk of Apple snapping up Qualcomm chipsets for future iPhones gained momentum on Friday with a claim in Taiwan's Commercial Times that Apple has ordered large amounts of Qualcomm chips. Besides accommodating a CDMA iPhone many expect would ship early next year, the order might also be used for the next-generation model. Apple is already believed to have started work on the next-generation model and should still use Foxconn (Hon Hai) as the manufacturer.
Otellini sees 3G, LTE tech in TVs, computers
Apple CEO Steve Jobs isn't at all worried about the Intel takeover of Infineon, the CEO of Intel suggests. Speaking with Fox Business TV, Paul Otellini says he called Jobs before making the acquisition. "Steve was very happy," he explains. "The industry was abuzz that this business unit was on the market, and there were a number of competing companies for it. I think they [Apple] are very happy that Intel won the bid."
Intel buys Infineon unit for 3G notebooks, tablets
Intel on Monday confirmed its plans to buy Infineon's wireless division for $1.4 billion in cash. The deal will see the Wireless Solutions group work as a stand-alone company on Intel's behalf and will give the company access to both 3G chipsets and a faster path to LTE-based 4G. It plans to use these not only for full-size notebooks but also Atom-based smartphones and tablets.
Intel to complete Infineon wireless buyout soon?
A buyout of Infineon wireless by Intel that dates back nearly two months may finally come to an end this weekend, according to sources speaking to Reuters. What is still being negotiated is whether or not the whole unit will be sold or just a portion. The former could result in nearly $1.27 billion changing hands.
Intel buyout of Infineon wireless now imminent
Intel's plan to tips from sources asserted on Thursday. Three contacts understand that the weeks-long talks have progressed to where an acquisition could be finalized by Friday. Bloomberg hadn't learned of new terms but heard Infineon was seeking the equivalent of $1.91 billion to offload the money-losing division.
Apple orders CDMA chips for iPhone in January
Apple is edging closer to a Verizon iPhone in January with a large order of CDMA chipsets, insiders reportedly said on Sunday. The company is queuing up "millions" of Qualcomm chipsets for a production run to start in December. The requests are coming early, TechCrunch said, as lead times for chips can often require months to generate enough supply, even when other components can be made more quickly.
Intel leading bids to get Infineon for 2 billion
Intel's bid to buy Infineon's wireless business could be sealed within "days or weeks," insiders said this weekend [sub. required]. The chip designer has advanced far enough that it's the leading bidder even with competition from Broadcom and Samsung. While still uncertain, the WSJ tips assert that Intel has already performed due diligence on Infineon's finances to determine whether a deal would work.
Google, Motorola get close to Android 3 devices
Android 3 is now believed to be in field testing as a check of online analytics has shown examples in the field. Some phones running the Linpack online benchmark have been caught running 3.0, 3.0.1 and 3.2. While the releases could use faked version numbers, they're believed to be examples of concurrent development which will branch out once 3.0 is finished.
Jobs regularly threatening to drop AT&T?
Both Apple and AT&T are to blame for the latter's network suffering under the weight of the iPhone, a Wired investigation suggests. Apple's part is said to stem largely from demanding unlimited Internet access for users, and being unwilling to bend on the matter, even though AT&T was unable to expand its network fast enough to accommodate the strain. Even though AT&T has asked to cooperate on fixing some problems, Apple has sometimes insisted that AT&T resolve them by itself.
Infineon Intel deal rumored to be worth 1.4b
Rumors that Intel would buy Infineon's cellular chip business gained fuel on Friday as Germany's Die Welt claimed that a deal is close. The two firms have purportedly met several times in the past two weeks and are tentatively at a price of between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion. No contract has been signed, but the two are now believed nearer to a deal than not.
iPhone 4 costs more to make than iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 4 is Apple's most expensive ever phone to make short of the original phone itself, a price breakdown by iSuppli has found. A 16GB example costs about $187.51 in raw parts; the bill is less than the $223 of the 2007 original but more than the $173 iPhone 3G and the $178.96 iPhone 3GS. Most of that cost increase is attributed to the LG Display-built 960x640 IPS screen, which is estimated to cost $28.50 all by itself.
EU says Samsung and others kept prices high
The European Union today fined a collective of memory producers 331.3 million euros (about $404.4 million) for price fixing. Electronics giants Hitachi, Mitsubishi, NEC, Samsung and Toshiba as well as Elpida, Hynix, Infineon and Nanya admitted they artificially kept RAM prices high between at least 1998 and 2002 by secretly coordinating pricing between each other. Samsung faces the largest fine and will pay 145.7 million euros ($177.8 million), but Infineon will also pay a large 56.7 million euros ($69.2 million) for its involvement.
EU may make firms take plea to avoid huge fines
The European Union is about to fine nine companies a total of $370 million for allegedly fixing pricing on flash memory, leaks revealed on Monday. Samsung, Hynix, Toshiba and six other major companies are being pressed to admit to colluding on high prices in exchange for seeing a 10 percent drop in the fines levied against each company. An NYT contact believed a ruling could come as soon as Wednesday.
Intel may get control of iPhone, iPad cell chips
Infineon is considering selling its cellular chipset business to Intel, a rumor from within the industry claimed Monday. Intel is believed to be very interested in getting into the mobile chip business and has supposedly made this known to Infineon. The latter's CEO, Peter Bauer, is characterized by the FT as opposed to a deal since it would be giving away a core business, but low revenues may create pressure to make a deal.
ATT plans surprise HSPA plus upgrade for this year
AT&T's John Stankey at a New York City event today surprised the industry by revealing that the carrier's upgrade to HSPA+ will be much larger than expected. It plans to have 14.4Mbps access rolled out far enough on its network to reach 250 million subscribers by the end of 2010. The speed-up should roughly double the 7.2Mbps speeds on offer today and will usually involve just software upgrades for cell sites.
iPad with 3G gets deconstruction, surprise queues
The 3G-capable iPad's launch on Friday has brought about several discoveries in the past few hours, including dissections of its hardware and word of long lineups. A teardown by iFixit has revealed that the cellular-ready Apple tablet has a dedicated communications mini board that houses all the 3G equipment separately from the main design. It uses the same Infineon X-Gold PMB 8878 chipset as the iPhone 3GS, but it has switched from Infineon's Hammerhead II GPS chipset to a single-chip Broadcom BCM4750UBG that provides assisted GPS.
Elpida files lawsuits against Infineon, Best Buy
Computer memory maker Elpida has filed a lawsuit against Infineon and Best Buy, spurred on by a complaint at the US International Trade Commission filed against it by Infineon. With the complaint, German-based Infineon attempted to stop Elpida from importing and selling some of its DRAM modules in the US. This earned a lawsuit from Elpida, which alleged Infineon and Best Buy infringes on Elpida's semiconductor integrated circuits.
ATT's De la Vega still expects 21Mbps 3G
AT&T will still implement 21Mbps 3G on its network on its way to 4G, the company's Mobility chief Ralph de la Vega said in an interview late Thursday. The provider had late last year said it would skip HSPA+ to make a more direct leap, but de la Vega now sees the advanced 3G reaching "certain locations" before 4G becomes widespread. He didn't yet have information for FierceWireless as to which areas would get the faster treatment.
Analyst dismisses talk of production delays
Apple should be able to churn out approximately 5 million iPads in the first half of the year, claims FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger. The number is higher than what some analysts have said Apple will sell in all of 2010, and is based on a dismissal of claims that the company is experiencing production setbacks. "We believe various news articles and competitor notes calling for a build delay were just false alarms," says Berger. At least one report has suggested that the delay to April 3rd is based on software issues.
Apple may adopt 5Gbps USB standard early
Apple could be one of the early computer builders to adopt USB 3.0 if a leak proves true. Those within the Taiwan electronics business claim Genesys Logic is providing test samples of USB 3.0 controllers to Apple. Publicly, Genesys has denied the talk, though DigiTimes notes that it's not uncommon for Apple to depend on many local Taiwan suppliers for its parts.
Chipmakers benefiting from iPhone spike
A rush of orders with chipmakers may lead Apple to ship more than 10 million iPhones per quarter for the first time, a study from Taiwan's Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute. The analyst group notes that the deliveries of chips needed for smartphones shot up 30.9 percent from spring to summer and expects much of that to translate into iPhone shipments as Apple will have queued up its shipments for the fall. Apple shipped about 7.4 million iPhones this summer but saw sustained demand that triggered international shortages.
Infineon to make LTE chips with Nokia
Infineon today said it would work with Nokia to develop chipsets for 4G mobile Internet based on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. The deal won't be exclusive and will primarily ensure that Infineon 4G hardware will support Nokia's technology licenses. The two hope to speed up development and make sure that 4G works properly across all devices, not just Nokia's.
Chip choice helps increase gross margin on iPhone
Apple has allegedly established a system to minimize licensing costs for 3G components patented by Qualcomm, according to Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi. While most 3G OEMs are paying Qualcomm roughly 4 percent on the wholesale price of their phones, Apple reportedly dodges most of the fees and pays an estimated 1.6 percent of its iPhone revenue to the chip maker.
Qualcomm in regular talks with Apple
Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs in an interview today said his company has been talking with Apple about providing chips for the iPhone. He didn't provide specifics but tried to downplay the significance for Bloomberg, explaining that Qualcomm's size means it talks to "everybody." He also pointed out that company "haven't made [a deal] yet" with Apple and didn't say what progress if any had been achieved.
Possible Verizon iPhone candidates?
Qualcomm today updated its MDM family of cellular chipsets with some of the first anywhere to support dual, advanced 3G and 4G formats. The MSM7630 supports GSM, HSPA and HSPA+ standards but will also work on CDMA phone networks and support up to EVDO Revision B for 3G on those services. The addition would let a phone work on a CDMA carrier like Sprint or Verizon but still work with AT&T or T-Mobile and roam at speeds of up to 21Mbps on networks from Rogers, other international carriers, and eventually T-Mobile USA.
CSR SiRFstar IV GPS Chip
CSR's GPS division SiRF today introduced SiRFstar IV, a new generation of GPS chipsets ultimately intended for smartphones and other particularly low-power handhelds. It improves on the longstanding SiRFstar III used in many dedicated navigators by supporting a new very low-power state. Rather than have to shut off completely when not in use to save battery life, it can enter a near-sleep state that can acquire a position fix much faster than it would from a cold start.
iPhone 3GS iSuppli Costs
Apple's newest iPhone actually costs slightly more to make than the older version in spite of the more modest update, iSuppli says. The iPhone 3GS' total bill of materials amounts to $178.96 for a 16GB model, or slightly more than the previous $174.33 of the 8GB iPhone 3G. Some of the cost difference is attributed to recent rises in the prices of NAND flash memory; although 16GB costs less to make than it did a year earlier, a small rebound due to economy-driven supply cutbacks means Apple has had to absorb some costs to double its storage.
iPhone 3G S Teardown
A teardown of the just-launched iPhone 3G S by RapidRepair this morning has revealed that Apple is using a processor capable of HD video and otherwise more than what Apple has enabled. The disassembly confirms the existence of a 600MHz ARM processor, Samsung's S5PC100, based on the much more advanced Cortex A8 platform. However, official specifications (PDF) show that the chip could run at 833MHz and that, while Apple officially limits video recording to 640x480, the full-speed component could not only play but capture 720p.