Qualcomm Is Enraged by Apple Chip Success
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Qualcomm Is Enraged by Apple Chip Success

Qualcomm is enraged by Apple’s chip success and wants to show who’s boss

Apple has demonstrated that the CPUs that power its iPhones are also capable of handling the company’s Mac portfolio, and it’s taken things a step further with the unveiling of its second-generation M2 chip, which drives the newly redesigned MacBook Air at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The excitement over mobile processors powering PCs is music to Qualcomm’s ears since the company is working on a next-generation mobile-based chipset for performance laptops.

In an interview last week, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon stated, “We’re striving to have performance leadership in PC on the CPU, period.

The only hitch is that one of these ultra-fast CPUs won’t be available until the end of 2023. Qualcomm, which is best known for creating CPUs for high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 range, has actually been supplying mobile-based processors for far longer than Apple, under its Snapdragon brand. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, for example, was released about a year before the first M1 PCs.

However, the business has high hopes for chips developed as part of its acquisition of Nuvia, a company that specialised in high-performance circuits based on the Arm architecture, which is used in everything from smartphones to iPads.

The Nuvia chips, according to Amon, will differentiate themselves from Qualcomm’s current Snapdragon processors by focusing on high-performance calculations that power CPUs, GPUs, and brain processing for artificial intelligence.

It’s part of a larger move away from Intel-based CPUs, which allows PC manufacturers like Apple to include more smartphone-like functionality into laptops and desktop PCs.

Amon, who became Qualcomm’s CEO a year ago this month, sat with me to talk about Nuvia, the future of augmented reality and the metaverse, the economics, and how to cope with supply chain restrictions.

QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 888 5G

The enigmatic PC market

Qualcomm has been supplying Snapdragon CPUs to PCs for years, but they have seldom made an impact. Early versions were generally underpowered, and they couldn’t perform critical applications that required Intel’s x86 architecture.

Apple, on the other hand, demonstrated that mobile CPUs can serve not just as the brains of computers, but also as a major selling factor. Amon expressed gratitude to Apple for promoting the development of Arm-compatible software but said that Microsoft is also on the same path.

“The moment is now,” he explained, “because you required a flawless alignment of stars.”

According to Amon, the trend of more individuals working remotely has modified laptop needs. Connectivity from any location, more powerful cameras and videoconferencing, and rapid, always-on capabilities have all suddenly become objectives. That, he claims, is compatible with Snapdragon’s main characteristics.

He’s counting on Nuvia to help him out. Qualcomm purchased the firm last year, which was established by semiconductor veterans with prior experience at Google, Arm, and, yep, Apple.

QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 888 5G

The economy and the supply chain

As the supply chain became more constrained, Amon said he increased capacity with his foundry partners and sought to diversify his suppliers. The actions taken are beginning to bear fruit, and he expects a better balance between demand and supply by the end of this year or early in 2023.

Amon admitted that the economy’s trajectory is difficult to forecast, but that there is a lot of negative feeling. Despite the possibility of a slowdown, the company is beginning to see interest in servicing areas other than its core smartphone business, such as health care and automotive.

The loss of one of Qualcomm’s largest clients, Apple, might have an impact. According to reports, Apple is developing its own modem to connect with its bespoke A-series CPUs. Qualcomm laid out guidance last year that by 2023, its share of modems powering Apple devices would drop to 20%, and single digits after that.

However, Amon stated that Qualcomm is still growing and that he has no control over whether Apple is ready to deploy its own modem. He replied, They have our phone number and know where we are.

QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 888 5G

On augmented reality and the metaverse

Google revealed a set of augmented reality glasses that enabled real-time language translation at the end of its I/O developer conference in May. Because the tease comes in the guise of a well-made film, it’s uncertain when they’ll be ready for prime time.

However, small, stylish AR glasses like those shown on sci-fi programs may be a long way off.

According to Amon, realistic AR glasses are around five years away. It isn’t a technology issue to which we are not privy.

AR glasses, he added, are occurring and will be big. They will likely come sooner, if not bulkier at first.

With the introduction of the Meta Quest headgear, virtual reality is approaching critical mass. AR is at the start of this curve since it overlays digital visuals on the actual environment. But, according to Amon, AR will outnumber VR.

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