Sep 12, 2023 - Economy & Business

Apple scales back chip ambitions, re-ups with Qualcomm

Illustration of the Apple logo made out of a computer chip.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple has signed a new chip supply agreement with Qualcomm, which will apply to iPhones being launched between 2024 and 2026.

Why it maters: This comes three years after Apple spent $1 billion to buy Intel's smartphone modem business — a move intended to let Apple displace Qualcomm when their existing agreement ended at the end of 2023.

Elsewhere: It also comes ahead of this week's highly anticipated U.S. IPO for British chip design giant Arm, which reportedly is already oversubscribed.

  • Apple licenses its iPhone chip design architecture from Arm, with the two sides recently extended that relationship through 2040 (as disclosed in a regulatory filing).
  • Arm, meanwhile, generates around 11% of its revenue via royalties from Qualcomm, but also is suing the chipmaker for breach of contract and trademark infringement.

The bottom line: Apple has spent both money and ink on moving its chip supply chain in-house. But just hours before the Tuesday unveiling of iPhone 15, it seems that Infinite Loop will remain reliant on outsiders for years to come.

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