"We believe that more system houses will design their own chips. The purposes are to develop and protect their proprietary technology information, to make more efficient chips for their unique need, to lower [costs] and to do inventory control better and keep all logistic operation confidentially," Samuel Wang, a U.S.-based analyst at research company Gartner, said.
Bernstein's Li said that Apple has invested in research and development for baseband modem chips. "It would not be surprising that Apple develops its own [modem chip]," he said. Two other chip industry executives also share the view that Apple will develop its own modem chips or at least boost its related capabilities.
Apple poached top Qualcomm modem chip engineer Esin Terzioglu earlier this year but it's unlikely that the company could roll out a modem chip within two years. It's estimated that a minimum of 1000 engineers would be required for the project.
Nikkei also reports that Apple would like to reduce its dependence on Intel for notebook chips and instead build those using ARM architecture. This has been rumored for quite some time.
"Notebooks are becoming thinner, while consumers are demanding better mobility and longer battery life. That gives ARM's architecture, which is known for its power efficiency, a very good opportunity," a chip industry executive said.
Finally, Apple has apparently taken steps towards developing a chip that could integrate touch, fingerprint and display driver functions.
"Apple has hired engineers from Taiwan's No. 1 display-driver chip designers Novatek and panel makers of AU Optronics as it wants to control next-generation display technology and some related key components," said a Taiwanese chip industry manager.
Currently, Analog Devices and Synaptics supply touch sensor and display-driver IC components.
Apple has had great success with its A-series chips used in the iPhone with the new A11 Bionic destroying the competition. It's no surprise that the company would consider expanding chip development to other areas.
Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.