What's Next for Apple in The Mobile realm

Submitted by lalit on December 20, 2008 - 7:44am.

In April Apple bought P.A. Semi a chipmaker known for designing power efficient chips. And yesterday, Imagination Technologies announced that Apple has subscribed to 8 million new shares of IMG, giving Apple 3 percent stake in the company. Imagination is the company behind PowerVR mobile graphics technology used in the iPhone. Imagination has also revealed that Apple has signed a multi-year, multi-use licensing agreement with the company for its next generation PowerVR SGX/VXD graphics technology and video IP cores.
Now the big question is why Apple is investing in various cellphone component makers. The short answer is Apple wants to control as many pieces of the iPhone puzzle as it can. There are three main components to mobile phone business hardware, software and wireless ecosystem.
Apple has complete control over the software part, as it doesn’t allow any wireless carrier to alter the base Mac OS X on the phone. When it comes to wireless ecosystem Apple controls most of it via the App Store and the iTunes store, but they can’t control the wireless networks. This leaves hardware as the only part of the puzzle where Apple is totally dependent on other manufacturers.
Apple designs the phone, but then it has to depend on companies like Samsung and others to provide various parts of the iPhone. As a result Apple gets what everyone in the mobile manufacturing industry is getting and advancement in iPhone hardware is directly dependent on other companies. So, if Apple wants to lead the industry in hardware design for the iPhone, it has to design its own processor and graphics core. And, that is exactly what Apple is doing.
Apple owns P.A. Semi a fabless chip designer, it now has stake in Imagination Technologies as well as multi-use licensing agreement and Apple has already made multi-year architecture license deal with ARM. If you put all three pieces together, Apple is designing an ARM based processor that will get graphics support from PowerVR SGX/VXD graphics core. It is very likely that Apple will design a one-board solution that will decrease power consumption and increase overall system speed.
By controlling hardware, software and wireless ecosystem, Apple is aiming to provide seamless user experience. And in a world where technology is increasingly becoming part of our day-to-day life, this seamless experience is what most users need and will enjoy.