Analysts pick chip winners in iPhone design

January 10, 2007 – Industry watchers have already begun speculating who nailed design wins in Apple’s sleek new iPhone, and the big winner for processing power could be Samsung.

Citing “multiple sources” in a research note, FBR Research analysts Chris Caso and Elizabeth Pate say Samsung won all the microprocessor sockets with a combined video + applications processors. They added that Samsung also will supply the same sockets for Apple’s forthcoming new video iPod, expected to be launched in early 3Q.

Other iPhone component contributors include Infineon (baseband), Broadcom (touch-screen controller), Marvell (802.11 content), and Cambridge Silicon Radio (Bluetooth chip). FBR speculates that Broadcom’s chip values at about $2/unit content, with Marvell’s chip at about $3-$5/content.

The analyst firm also forecasted 2007 iPhone production volumes of 6 million units with an unnamed contract manufacturer, which it claims has agreed to provide capacity for up to 9 million units if necessary.

At those levels, the semiconductor content for Broadcom and Marvell should extrapolate to about $12-$25 million in 2007 revenues for Broadcom, and $15-$30 million for Marvell, though the research firm suggested those extra sales are “incremental positives” and not “needle movers.”

Nvidia, which FBR had earlier speculated would have a design win in the iPhone, appears to have been shut out of both the new iPhone and video iPod, but the analysts “don’t think the Apple business was ever in consensus estimates in the first place.” They added that the combination of Nvidia and PortalPlay should maintain “a good chance of winning silicon content on future Apple platforms for 2008.”


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