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November 30, 2017

Is Apple about to turn chip maker?

If the reported Apple initiative goes ahead, what impact might it have on competitors? What impact might this have on the power chip makers?

By Tom Ball

It has been reported that Apple is preparing to begin manufacturing its own power chips for devices in 2018, a play that would shake up the industry and erase the company’s dependence on external chip makers.

The Japanese financial newspaper, The Nikkei, has reported this revelation, but so far neither Apple nor the manufacturer of its power chips, Dialog Semiconductor, has commented on the information from the report.

Citing industry sources, the report said that Apple is pursuing this avenue so as to become more competitive, enhancing its ability to work with semiconductors.

Is Apple about to turn chip maker?According to The Nikkei, a source said: “Based on Apple’s current plan, they are set to replace partially, or around half of its power management chips to go into iPhones by itself starting next year.”

Another motivation linked to Apple’s alleged interest in producing its own chips is artificial intelligence, a top tech trend of 2017, and a growing space in which there is bound to be increasing and formidable competition.

All eyes are currently on chip makers, with the IoT market set to explode, for example, and as mentioned, projects working with cutting edge technologies will also be reliant on chip technology. In line with this, Microsoft is working on building a new chip geared specifically towards AI.

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This news will make concerning reading for power chip makers across the world, because if it turns out to be true, Apple competitors may look to harness the same in-house capabilities, shutting out the manufacturers.

Others have recognised the value and importance of chip making, with the Toshiba chip unit proving highly desirable to a number of bidders. Bain Capital finally succeeded, and has shared a plan to list the unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in around three years’ time.

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