3G iPhone Predictions

by: Vijay Nagarajan

We are less than a week off from the Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference 2008 [WWDC] in which the 3G iPhone is expected to make its debut.Over the past year, I have covered the 3G iPhone in great detail. As we head to the WWDC, I thought it will be nice to compile my iPhone predictions about some component suppliers. Take them for what they are - just predictions!

3G Baseband: Infineon (IFX) will be at the heart of the iPhone. The Infineon 3G chip will have a software stack that is jointly developed with InterDigital. The King of Prussia-based InterDigital (NASDAQ:IDCC) is also likely to have a good portion of the baseband IP if my guess is right. I am basing this last speculation on the performance of the IFX chipsets in recently conducted tests. Essentially, InterDigital will earn a per-chip royalty for the software stack and possibly for the baseband IP.

Application Processor: Samsung will perhaps continue to own this part. Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) has an outside chance.

WLAN: For platform stability issues, I will bet on Marvell grabbing this socket again. Broadcom (BRCM) may spring a surprise with its WLAN-BT-FM integrated solution.

Bluetooth: If WLAN belongs to Marvell, CSR, which is in the current iPhone, will likely own the Bluetooth socket again.

GPS: The next generation will have GPS and it will likely belong to Broadcom. This was recently ratified by a GigaOm report.

Touchscreen: Broadcom

I cannot hypothesize on other components. But if I were to guess, I will bet on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) retaining most existing suppliers. While I have been talking about these component suppliers for around a year now, some of these predictions may appear matter-of-fact to readers today. In any case, now that I have put it all in a list, let us see what my hit-rate is!

[All thoughts expressed here are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of either Atheros Communications or TensorComm Inc.]

Disclosure: The author was long IDCC at the time of writing.