Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chips

By: Maynard Handley (name99.delete@this.name99.org), May 6, 2019 3:15 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Beastian (no.email.delete@this.aol.com) on May 6, 2019 1:16 pm wrote:
> Maynard Handley (name99.delete@this.name99.org) on May 6, 2019 11:40 am wrote:
> > Beastian (no.email.delete@this.aol.com) on May 6, 2019 9:09 am wrote:
> > > Doug S (foo.delete@this.bar.bar) on May 3, 2019 1:11 am wrote:
> > > > I keep saying and people keep doubting that Apple simply will ignore 2G/3G and make an LTE/5G only
> > > > modem. The longer it takes them to get it out the door the more likely/feasible that strategy becomes.
> > > > That's going to reduce their complexity of their design and software since it gets rid of so much
> > > > legacy stuff, and everything is packet switched so they don't have to even deal with circuit switched
> > > > legacy voice/SMS. That has to reduce the number of engineers they'd need.
> > > >
> > > > Yes, I'm aware of the objections people have that 3G networks in Europe and some other parts of
> > > > the world won't be shut down for many years, unlike the situation here in the US where major carriers
> > > > will have them all gone within a couple years (before any possible date of introduction of an Apple
> > > > designed modem) but they are keeping them around as a legacy to support IoT devices like cellular
> > > > alarms and what not and not to my knowledge intending them for widespread usage by mobile phone
> > > > customers. Unless there is a lot of area that simply isn't covered by LTE/5G at all but only by
> > > > 3G, there wouldn't be any reason for Apple to support anything older than LTE.
> > > >
> > > > The deal with Qualcomm specifies a six year licensing agreement, and a "multi-year chip supply agreement".
> > > > The different wording suggests that the deal for chip supply is less than six years - it would seem Apple
> > > > anticipates switching from Qualcomm's chips to someone
> > > > else's (presumably their own) in less than six years.
> > > > Since they keep old designs around for a couple years, a six year agreement would cover use in new iPhones
> > > > over a four year period so it is less than that. If the first year they use Qualcomm chips is 2020, a six
> > > > year agreement that covered four years of new phones would have them using Qualcomm chips in the Sept 2023
> > > > iPhones so it would seem they expect to use something else in 2023, and possibly earlier. I doubt we'd see
> > > > Apple's modems as soon as 2021, that would have them only
> > > > using Qualcomm's modems in new designs for a single
> > > > year. So I'm going to guess 2022 is the year they are targeting for the introduction of their modems, so
> > > > they didn't want to commit to chip supply for the full six years of the licensing deal.
> > > >
> > > > Most likely they'd want to first use them in something where cellular connectivity is less critical than
> > > > a phone, like the Watch. Building the modem into the 'X' version of the SoC for the iPad before they are
> > > > ready to build it into the iPhone is another possibility - the larger form factor would mean it might
> > > > even be possible also install Qualcomm's modem and provide a way to switch between them. That would allow
> > > > for widescale testing by Apple employees while leaving the Qualcomm modem in place for end users so they
> > > > are protected in case their modem has some teething pains. Theoretically the settings menu could even
> > > > offer an option for end users to switch between them to allow willing users to help test.
> > >
> > > Tim Cook reiterated his focus as a more Wall St. friendly consumer staples rather than tech company today:
> > >
> > > https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/06/tim-cook-buffett-stake-shows-that-apple-is-not-really-a-tech-firm.html
> > >
> > > Modems are not nearly as much of a directly consumer facing technology as CPUs or GPUs for Apple.
> > > A modem is something that is technically challenging and just needs to work everywhere iPhones
> > > are sold; they'd rather print money off of their brand and customer stickiness than undertake complex
> > > and risky technical development at this stage of their life cycle. I could see a Samsung design
> > > integrated into an AX in a few years with Samsung also fabbing the thing for Apple, but a "courageous"
> > > 4G/5G only solution wouldn't fly nearly so well as their decision to remove the headphone jack
> > > (corresponding with the introduction of Airpods) until much later next decade.
> >
> > Beastian, you are misunderstanding the purpose of this type of communication.
> > The statement is not about HOW Apple makes its money, it is about the expected volatility (and
> > growth) of the money. Apple is trying to set expectations that future revenue streams
> > - are expected to be smoother/more predictable than in the past BUT ALSO
> > - unlikely to have the crazy 25%pa growth of the past.
> >
> > If you want to understand Apple's tech future, a finance paper is
> > not the place to look! You'll get some of that in a month at WWDC.
>
> I look at both the finer technical aspects of a company's moves as well as the course the CEO is projecting:
> it's a bit like knowing the first and second derivatives of a trajectory. Cook hasn't been shy about folding
> away once vibrant technical wings of Apple in favor of organizational simplicity and cost savings:
>
> https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-20/how-apple-alienated-mac-loyalists
>
>
In the Mac's heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from Ive's team.
> Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought
> prototypes to Ive's studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early
> concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable
> products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team's
> leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.
>
> In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering
> department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and
> most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.

>
> This move foreshadows the current, sorrier state of Mac than in its heyday when professional engagement
> and product quality was higher. I glean mostly the same vibes out of Cook for Apple's potential plans
> for custom modems given the recent deal he signed with Qualcomm and his explicit pivot to services.

We all read the same facts. And we all have different interpretations. I don't see any value in repeating, yet again, my interpretations.
I will point out that it's possible that the very last thing Steve Jobs did was to insist that Apple launch an Apple Watch, but realistically *everything* about that happened under Tim Cook. As did Apple's on-going 30%pa CPU performance improvements, and branching out into GPUs and NPUs.
Likewise Apple's been pushing AR for three years now, a behavior that makes very little sense (certainly it has little commercial, developer, or user traction) unless you expect it to be primarily a training ground for upcoming Smart Glasses...

Basically your argument is built upon on an assumption that "Apple has abandoned the Mac", a claim that is of dubious validity, and which I expect to be fully up-ended as soon as Apple has thrown off the yoke of Intel.
Especially since those who whine constantly about this abandoning are ready to tell you every tech that debuted first on iOS, but forget every tech that debuted first on the Mac. (Most recently, eg, Dark Mode. That's not very interesting, IMHO, but then, most of the truly interesting stuff is NOT POSSIBLE right now as long as Macs are basically Intel shells. You can't do much around sensors, or location, or cameras, or much of anything that wasn't done ten years ago until the Mac is under more aggressive Apple control. Even things like security required Apple to start moving bits of iOS hardware into Macs, ie T1 and T2.)

You yourself seemed to agree just a few months ago that Apple is likely to move into ARM Macs soon, which seems like an odd sort of move for a product line that is being "abandoned".

Personally I think that you have some sort of personal stake in QC (by which I mean simply that it's a company you've decided you approve of), which is fine. BUT I think also that you're now letting that particular fact dominate too much of your thinking about Apple (and maybe other tech). In a sense almost every opinion you held about Apple six months ago you've reversed, based on your interpretation of the (limited!) info we have regarding the trial settlement. To me this looks like a particular form of Saliency Heuristic --- you're letting recent events and things that you can easily remember overwhelm your total knowledge of the tech landscape, no different from the simple-minded sports-fan whose emotional life is driven purely by the most recent win or loss of his team.
You're not being a good Bayesian! It's fine to update based on (even personal or idiosyncratic interpretations of) new evidence; but you're supposed to update your priors, not simply ignore them!

We'll see. One month to WWDC, and worst case thirteen months to WWDC2020...
I think the case for ARM Macs this year is better than the case for next year, but not by much, say 55% to 45%. And certainly if we don't see them next year, then I'll admit that my mental model of what's going on is dramatically flawed.
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TopicPosted ByDate
Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/04/18 03:47 PM
  antitrust implications? (NT)anonymous22019/04/18 07:53 PM
    antitrust implications?Doug S2019/04/18 08:50 PM
      antitrust implications?Beastian2019/04/18 10:02 PM
  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/18 08:45 PM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsdmcq2019/04/18 10:05 PM
      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/18 10:28 PM
        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAdrian2019/04/18 11:48 PM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsdmcq2019/04/19 05:54 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAdrian2019/04/19 09:33 AM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsdmcq2019/04/19 10:54 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 11:03 AM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 07:38 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipssylt2019/04/19 09:28 AM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 10:03 AM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipssylt2019/04/19 11:08 PM
                  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/20 09:15 AM
                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 09:41 AM
                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipssylt2019/04/20 01:22 PM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/20 07:31 PM
                        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 09:41 PM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsGroo2019/04/21 06:50 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAdrian2019/04/19 09:45 AM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 10:27 AM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 11:09 AM
                  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 11:17 AM
                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 12:19 PM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsGroo2019/04/20 05:50 AM
                        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 09:49 AM
                          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/20 10:08 AM
                            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 11:18 PM
                              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 11:19 PM
        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/19 09:46 AM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 10:50 AM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/19 03:17 PM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/19 09:59 PM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsGroo2019/04/20 08:28 AM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/20 09:33 AM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 11:26 PM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/20 09:55 AM
      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAndreas2019/04/19 03:55 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAndrew Clough2019/04/19 05:19 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsGroo2019/04/19 06:44 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 10:49 AM
    Read this and realize what Apple doesGroo2019/04/19 03:27 PM
  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 10:32 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/04/19 11:15 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/19 01:48 PM
      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/19 02:53 PM
        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/19 10:05 PM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/20 09:49 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/20 11:07 PM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/05/15 06:51 AM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/05/15 10:16 AM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/15 11:21 AM
  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/04/25 10:37 AM
    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/25 11:43 AM
      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsdmcq2019/04/26 01:22 AM
        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/04/26 09:05 AM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/26 10:57 AM
            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsAnon2019/04/27 03:11 PM
              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/04/27 07:15 PM
                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/04/28 05:59 AM
                  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/05/02 11:01 AM
                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/02 02:58 PM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/02 03:27 PM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsanonymou52019/05/02 04:37 PM
                        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/03 12:35 AM
                          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/03 08:32 AM
                            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/03 12:32 PM
                              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/03 02:45 PM
                                Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsUmmmm...2019/05/03 03:35 PM
                                  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/03 03:56 PM
                                  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/03 08:10 PM
                                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/03 08:11 PM
                                    Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/03 09:12 PM
                                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/04 07:33 AM
                      Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDoug S2019/05/03 12:11 AM
                        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/05/06 08:09 AM
                          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/06 10:40 AM
                            Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsBeastian2019/05/06 12:16 PM
                              Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsMaynard Handley2019/05/06 03:15 PM
                        Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsSimon Farnsworth2019/05/07 04:23 AM
          Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsdmcq2019/04/26 11:52 AM
  Apple agrees to become Qualcomm's licensee and returns to their baseband chipsDummond D. Slow2019/05/02 08:25 AM
    So Qualcomm got less than 2/3 of what they wantedDoug S2019/05/02 09:35 AM
      So Qualcomm got less than 2/3 of what they wantedBeastian2019/05/02 10:43 AM
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