According to a rumor, Apple may develop its own baseband chips
Some rumors appeared today about Apple talking about their production system. According to various sources, the company is planning to set up a research and development department to manufacture, at its own headquarters, the baseband chips that will be in its devices by 2015 .
The baseband processor (popularly known as “the radio”) of a phone is one of the most important components , being in charge, among other things, of the generation and modulation of the radio signals used for any task involving a communication such as a call, GPS, etc.
The A7 processor in today’s devices was designed by Apple , but is separate from the baseband chip that was created by Qualcomm and manufactured on a large scale by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Bad news for these two companies if the rumor is confirmed.
Apple has been thinking for quite some time about developing many of its components in its own R&D departments in order to maintain maximum security and independence . This trend would be confirmed, for example, by the Arizona facility where Apple intends to develop components made of sapphire glass, a rumoured material for the future iPhone 6.
Apple has long had the idea of developing most of its components in its own facilities
Therefore, this would be a further step in the effort to control everything related to production and base technology supplies. One of the reasons could be economic . Having your own resources and having absolute control over them without depending on third parties, saves costs and is always cheaper.
But another and perhaps more important reason may be security . Normally, the code and instructions that are executed in a baseband processor are proprietary, that is to say, from the chip manufacturer himself, making any kind of analysis or modification of the instructions used extremely difficult, if not impossible.
By using reverse engineering on the processors, researchers have sometimes detected security holes or backdoors , that can be used to execute certain instructions or access confidential information on the phone, remotely. If not, ask Samsung.
In this way, Apple could add an extra layer of security for future iPhones and, more importantly, for future developments of devices where security is a major factor, such as the iWallet.
We’ll continue to be on the lookout for this type of Cupertino’s movement and to take this type of rumour with caution, since, as we’ve been told by AppAdvice, there are others that point to joint development (SoC) by Apple, the application processor and the baseband chip.
Do you consider the development of components in Apple’s own facilities convenient?