Apple has found itself in a legal entanglement with Qualcomm over LTE modem patents and licensing. Apple was a long-time Qualcomm customer, purchasing LTE modems for its popular iPhones and iPads. However, a licensing dispute -- with Apple alleging that Qualcomm was double dipping on fees -- led to an all-out war. Since that time, Apple has gone exclusively with Intel LTE modems for its smartphones and tablets.
Looking towards the future, however, Apple appears to be ready to rid itself of both Qualcomm and Intel. A new job listing posted by Apple, first spotted by The Information, is seeking out a "Cellular Modem Systems Architect". While Apple's HQ is in Cupertino, this job would be based in San Diego, which just so happens to be Qualcomm's stomping grounds.
The listing states:
Join us to help deliver the next groundbreaking Apple product. Do you love working on challenges that no one has solved yet? Are you ready to join a team transforming hardware technology? We are searching for a talented engineer with 5+/- years of experience to join our exciting team of innovators.
In this role, you will be a key member of the wireless architecture team working on modem systems architecture aspects for the L1/physical layer.
The Information went on to add that one of its anonymous sources confirmed that Apple is indeed working on its own in-house cellular modem as it looks to consolidate major hardware components under one roof. None of this should come as a surprise, however; Apple's previous history shows that such a move is inevitable.
Apple historically used Samsung SoCs in its original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS. Starting with the iPhone 4, Apple began using its own in-house chip: the A4. Apple's current A12 and A12X are now among the most powerful SoCs in the mobile industry. Likewise, Apple ditched Imagination Technologies for the GPUs integrated into its A-Series chips in favor of in-house designs.