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Will Apple Integrate Qualcomm IP On iPhone 5 SoC?

Apple has already established an extensive partnership with Qualcomm after adopting the US manufacturer's chip to power the CDMA version of its iPhone 4, and it looks likely that we will see Qualcomm's IP in the iPhone 5.

The question remains though, as to whether Apple will license the IP to bring both the transceiver and the baseband processor onboard, rather than relying on external components.

Doing so would carry a number of advantages; firstly Apple would only deal with a single company which allows it to drive a hard bargain and smoothens the manufacturing process.

Then putting everything on a single chip or piece of silicon optimises space utilisation on the board and reduces energy consumption; Qualcomm is also particularly well placed when it comes to on-chip integration.

The MSM8660, for example, has onboard GPS, 3G, CDMA plus WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, and we suspect that Apple, which is rumoured to have signed a secret agreement (opens in new tab) with Qualcomm, may want to tap into the latter's expertise on integrated circuits.

Furthermore, Qualcomm and TSMC have been working on 28nm technology (high-k metal gate (HKMG) 28HP and silicon oxynitride (SiON) 28LP) since the beginning of 2010; will Apple be tempted to look around and use another foundry for the A5/A8?

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.