Rassweiler said that Apple also appeared to show a lot of special attention to radio frequency chips in both phones. “Apple seems to be spending a lot of time and money combining RF chips,” he said. “Where other phone companies would be using whatever chips its various vendors sell off-the-shelf, Apple seems to be pushing its RF suppliers to do things they don’t do for anyone else.”
Those vendors, according to IHS’ analysis, are Qualcomm, Skyworks, Avago, RF Micro Devices and Triquint Semiconductor, all of which make chips that handle different aspects of the iPhone’s connections to various wireless networks. These efforts toward getting the radio frequency chips to work together have the effect, Rassweiler said, of allowing the phones to support more frequency bands in a single phone than before. “The iPhone 5 supported no more than five LTE bands. The 5S and 5C can support as many as 13, and that’s unique,” he said. “Unlike other phones designers, Apple has spent a lot of time collaborating with the RF chip companies to find novel solutions that its competitors don’t have.”
Its good for Apple because the fewer technical variations of the iPhone there are, the more profitable the phones are likely to be. Eventually, Rassweiler said, Apple may be able to produce a single version of the phone that supports all the world’s frequency bands, no matter what type of wireless network is present.
The teardown shows that the Apple used the same unique combination of RF chips in both the 5S and the 5C, at a combined cost of $32.
I dont follow the competitors as much as maybe i should, but if we were to look at each of thier 2nd qtr earnings release and see who had 3qtr forecasts that were much higher than expected. We all know that was definitely tqnt and in a good or bad move (i didnt like it) tqnt even told us what they expected for the whole year Qcom really hasnt moved much,rfmd stock seems to b doing well and avago is picking up momentum now quicker than tqnt at the moment. Qcom is said to developing a chip to cover all bands in one component, which would or could destroy tqnt. Tqnt must also b trying to come up with this technology since they are the leader in this field. With such a bold forecast by tqnt management i think that we most likely have a good amount of the dollar content in the phones. I am not even close to an expert on this board so i hope other members give their opinions
Steven Smigie – Raymond James
I think Qualcomm is talking a little bit about their RF360 product on their call saying they’re storing the sample
Certainly, I appreciate the question Qualcomm is multi-competitor and a valued partner we work closely with them on many of our products and I think they value the technology, we bring to their. They also have designs for introducing a product of their own that will be competitive.
I can’t comment on the product at this time I only saw some of it when I was in Barcelona and that was February this year, I really haven’t seen much of it in the market. It does have some characteristics i.e. the CMOS based amplifier that I mentioned in the prepared comments and I do believe that that will be a headwind to Qualcomm for success because I believe that battery life is still a big driver, CMOS PAs have improved a lot over the last 10 years largely due to circuit techniques, circuit techniques by creative so designers applying the capability to RF space.
Turing down many of those circuit capabilities and techniques also work on (inaudible) so GaAs amplifiers have gotten better over the last 10 years as well. And the delta between the two remains GaAs HBT is the higher performing solution. And then, from a cost perspective as I mentioned in the prepared remarks volume is going up on GaAs, that’s bringing cost down CMOS PAs don’t benefit from the optical shrink path, the typical cost reduction path, the CMOS in fact, they typically because of high bolt and strings are required to stay on older technologies. So, I just don’t see them closing the cost either as a matter of fact they may be getting, we’re closing the gap on them.
So, when you integrate all this into a module the fact that the GaAs HBT is a very small dive in our case copper stud interconnect, the cost difference between CMOS PA and GaAs PA is just that consequential and the performance is measurable, HBT performance is measurably better.