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What You Need to Know About Apple's Multibillion-Dollar Supply Agreement With Broadcom

What You Need to Know About Apple's Multibillion-Dollar Supply Agreement With Broadcom

  Apple is one of Broadcom's biggest customers, accounting for 20% of its $33.2 billion annual revenues in 2015. Supplier will comply with all employment, tax and export control laws when fulfilling its obligations under this Agreement. Supplier will also meet any environmental compliance requirements identified in any document(s), if any, referenced by Apple Requirements Documents. FBAR Filters Filters used in wireless communication devices, like cell phones, have increasingly become smaller in size while offering increased performance at higher frequencies. One solution is using bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters; BAW filters offer lower insertion loss than surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters as well as steeper rejection curves and improved power handling capabilities. The FBAR filter is a resonator-type piezoelectric ceramic structure that utilizes multiple modes of vibration to achieve passband performance. While more complex than SAW filters, its performance far outstrips those offered by them and has lower insertion loss; furthermore it can withstand high levels of input power making it ideal for 5G applications. FBAR filters can be manufactured in various shapes and sizes to suit specific application needs. Common designs include square, triangular or pentagonal configurations that measure only micrometers thick. Fabricated from aluminum nitride (AlN) or zinc oxide (ZiO), these materials make up their construction. To operate, an FBAR filter is assembled on top of a silicon substrate and comprises first and second lower electrodes, a piezoelectric thin film, first and second upper electrodes and first and second lower electrodes. When high-frequency signals are applied, vibratory energy from piezoelectric thin film activates it so an acoustic wave resonates through a resonator at an appropriate frequency determined by device dimensions. Development of FBAR technology for RF filter applications presents several unique challenges. For instance, it is vital that we find an approach that produces a resonator with maximum k/t coefficient and Q product levels; additionally it must eliminate ripple in its oscillators as well as maintain uniform thickness throughout. Finally, there must be an established means of controlling its resonance frequency to precisely match input/output impedances of our system. Once these hurdles have been cleared away, FBAR filters are an attractive alternative to SAW filters thanks to their superior performance, low insertion loss and ability to handle high levels of input power. Furthermore, they use an intrinsically low temperature process technology compatible with semiconductor technology. Wireless Connectivity Components Apple may eventually develop homegrown versions of the wireless chips used in its products to handle wireless connections, though for now Broadcom's existing technology will continue to serve Apple phones and tablets - including an integrated chip which combines both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality - according to reports. A multiyear, multibillion-dollar agreement announced today by Broadcom may extend that arrangement even further. Apple announced that Broadcom will design and produce 5G radio frequency components at its American facilities, specifically FBAR filters used by mobile phones to focus airwave signals and reduce interference. Fort Collins Colorado (pictured below) will serve as a key manufacturing hub for these parts, according to Apple. The deal is also significant because it marks a boost for US production of radio-frequency (RF) components. Wireless components often operate within the 2.4-GHz band shared by everything from microwave ovens and baby monitors to cordless phone networks and garage door openers; even well-designed chips may experience interference and loss of connectivity if they share this spectrum with other devices. Apple and Broadcom are developing solutions that aim to mitigate interference and boost overall device performance, including the implementation of FBAR filters as well as developing techniques for decreasing power consumption and increasing data throughput over wireless connections. As we move toward 5G networks, these technologies will become indispensable tools to helping people work, play and learn more effectively. They'll enable an Internet of Things with various applications like remote monitoring of home appliances and medical devices. To further their efforts, both companies have joined forces in an agreement designed to bring these technologies faster to market, including the previously discussed RF components as well as 5G baseband and modem chips that will be produced in US facilities. This collaboration helps Apple meet its commitment made in 2021 of investing $430 billion over five years into US infrastructure and economy. 5G Radio Frequency Components 5G mobile networks promise to be 10x faster than 4G networks, as well as offering greater bandwidth, connecting many more devices at once. 5G's higher data rates are achieved using millimeter waves - powerful radio waves with shorter range than lower-frequency microwaves commonly found on existing cellular networks that may even pass through walls more easily than their counterparts. Mobile phones will require advanced transmitters and receivers in order to take full advantage of this new technology. These must be smaller, more energy-efficient transmitters/receivers, with sophisticated signal processing algorithms as well as meet stringent test and certification requirements set by both the FCC and Canada's Innovation Science Economic Development Department (ISED). Cellular operators will utilize simulators and drive tests in order to measure performance as well as verify compliance. Low latency is also essential to 5G networks, which measures how long it takes for information transmission and reception from phone antennae. 4G networks typically experience latency between 20-30 milliseconds; 5G is expected to achieve 10 milliseconds - this allows autonomous cars and autonomous robots to communicate as well as real-time video conferencing or virtual reality games to function seamlessly. 5G technology stands apart from its predecessors in that it operates across a wide spectrum of frequencies and uses millimeter-wave spectrum that is less densely populated than 4G's lower frequencies bands; Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband network operates within 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave bands respectively. Apple today announced that they have entered into an expansive, multiyear, multibillion-dollar agreement with Broadcom to supply them with 5G radio frequency components and wireless connectivity parts, such as FBAR filters used to direct airwave signals through mobile phones without interference. They will be designed and produced across America in manufacturing hubs like Fort Collins where Broadcom maintains significant facilities. Broadcom’s Manufacturing Facilities Apple's partnership with Broadcom helps the iPhone maker diversify its supply chain and reduce reliance on Chinese chipmakers that have come under increasing scrutiny due to tariffs and trade disputes. Furthermore, this multiyear deal gives Apple time to develop its own chips for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi components; although that could take many years. According to an announcement released Tuesday from both companies, their collaboration will center around cutting-edge wireless connectivity and 5G radio frequency components such as FBAR filters - designed and produced in various American manufacturing hubs such as Fort Collins Colorado where Broadcom has its main factory - designed and constructed specifically for mobile phone use to reduce interference - along with various forms of radio frequency components for 5G networks. These will include filters like those found in cell phones that help mobile phone focus airwave signals more precisely to reduce interference - as well as filters specifically made specifically for 5G frequencies - designed and produced within these American manufacturing hubs including Fort Collins Colorado where Broadcom has its main facility located. FBAR filters are essential components in smartphones and will play an integral part in 5G wireless technology, the next generation of wireless technology that promises faster connections between devices like smartphones. 5G promises quicker connections between them and new technologies such as virtual reality gaming and self-driving cars - this deal was one of Apple's first since committing $430 billion over five years to invest in America's economy, even amid rising trade tensions with China. Apple and Broadcom will partner to co-develop 5G modems compatible with Apple mobile software - a critical piece of infrastructure necessary to deliver higher speeds from 5G. Their collaboration will support over 1,100 jobs at Broadcom's Fort Collins FBAR filter manufacturing facility; additionally, this partnership will allow both companies to invest in critical automation projects while upskilling engineers and technicians, as Apple stated in its release. Broadcom is a global infrastructure technology leader headquartered in San Jose, California and offering category-leading semiconductors and software solutions. Drawing upon their rich technical heritage at AT&T/Bell Labs, Lucent, Hewlett-Packard/Agilent as well as Hewlett-Packard/Agilent; Broadcom boasts product engineering teams equipped with scale, scope and engineering talent capable of delivering innovative technology leadership across multiple product segments.

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