Apple Working on Custom Bluetooth Chip to Power Wireless Earbuds

Apple Working on Custom Bluetooth Chip to Power Wireless Earbuds

Forbes reports Apple has been working several years on a custom Bluetooth chip that will fix an issue that has plagued Bluetooth earpods in the past, short battery life. The publication says it is possible Apple will debut a new set of wireless earbuds alongside their new iPhone in September, which is expected to do away with the traditional headphone jack.

Apple Working on Custom Bluetooth Chip to Power Wireless Earbuds
Samsung’s Bluetooth earbuds, the Gear IconX – Via Forbes

The low-power Bluetooth chip comes from technology developed by Passif Semiconductor, a startup Apple purchased in 2013. But the project has hit performance snags. Apple originally planned to launch the Bluetooth gadget in 2015, but Bluetooth performance issues stalled the release, the source told FORBES. “The way it works at Apple is if it doesn’t work 100%, it gets cut,” the source said. Whether Apple’s wireless earbuds arrive with a custom Bluetooth chip by Apple, or instead use a third-party supplier (like Broadcom BRCM +%) is still unknown.

Apple didn’t respond to a Forbes request for comment.

It would come as no surprise that Apple is working on its own custom Bluetooth chip, instead of relying on an outside supplier. The Cupertino firm has been long been moving forward with an initiative to make more of its own components, to better control the supply of components for its popular devices. Apple’s A4 processor in 2010 marked the company’s first in-house processing chip (using ARM technology), and the firm has been pushing procesor development ever forward ever since then, creating the first 64-bit processor for a smartphone, with the A7 chip that powered the iPhone 5s.

A report released earlier this year by Mark Gurman said Apple was in the process of prototyping premium Bluetooth headphones, using technology acquired in 2014 along with their purchase of Beats Electronics.

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