American technology giant Apple has announced its plans to invest in a new chip design plant in the European country Germany.
The new R&D plant will cost the company a billion euros over the next three years alone.
It will serve as the company’s largest chip design plant, covering a breadth of 30,000 square meters.
Apple plans to move in by 2022 officially.
Apple says the new chip design plant will be dedicated to research on connectivity and wireless technologies, starting with the fifth generation of mobile networks, 5G.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says, “I couldn’t be more curious about what our engineering teams in Munich will discover – from exploring new possibilities in 5G technology to a new generation of technologies that will enable even more performance, speed, and connectivity.”(via Google Translate)
The tech giant has already made clear the goal of producing more products in-house, a vision that has been bolstered recently by the launch of its silicon for Macs based on ARM architecture.
The company already makes its mobile processors, the so-called Bionic chipsets, that power the iPhones.
Perhaps the new facility is part of the bigger plan to decouple itself from fellow American semiconductor giant and partner Qualcomm.
The European Center for Chip Design will house engineers to work on R&D to help the company make in-house modems.
Currently, Apple uses Qualcomm modems in its smartphones, even in its latest 5G capable iPhone 12 series.
It first began finding away outside Qualcomm after acquiring a majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business in 2019 for $1 billion.
At the time, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior VP of Hardware Technologies, said the acquisition would help them accelerate development on future products and allow Apple to differentiate further moving forward.
To date, the company is yet to start using its mobile modems. Still, the massive investment in a new research and development center around wireless technologies signals a burning desire to make it happen.
Munich, Germany, continues to be an area of particular interest from the iPhone maker. It holds the company’s most significant development center in Europe with about 1500 engineers.
Additionally, it says the upcoming “state-of-the-art” facility will be the continent’s most prominent development site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software.