Severe Redesigns on the Way for iPhone, iPad

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Breaking news out of Taiwan: According to Taiwanese business rag Economic Daily News, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is planning to make some radical changes to next year's iterations of the iPhone and iPad.

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) is expected to provide baseband radio chips this time, pushing out incumbent Infineon Technologies and thus replacing an HSPA expert with the inventor of the CDMA standard. If that was gobbledygook, you should know that HSPA is the 3G network standard in use at AT&T while CDMA is what they use to run Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) . If true, this could be the first real sign of a Verizon or Sprint iPhone, though you'd probably have to wait until next summer when Steve Jobs traditionally dons his black turtleneck to unveil what's new in iPhones.

Among other notable changes, Marvell Technology (Nasdaq: MRVL  ) is said to have replaced Broadcom as the Wi-Fi chip supplier, but Broadcom makes a comeback by stealing the touchscreen controller slot. Wolfson Microelectronics may have retaken the audio chip throne that Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS  ) stole two years ago, and the market is taking this rumor very seriously: Cirrus is down 4% today while Wolfson trades sharply higher on the London exchange.

Last but not least, a separate rumor says that Samsung is moving its Galaxy S smartphones to standard LCD screens soon or maybe putting the entire product line on hold. Why? Because Apple allegedly wants all the OLED capacity Samsung can muster for the iPhone. I had expected a move like that around next summer, because that's when Samsung increases its OLED manufacturing capacity tenfold by opening a massive new factory. But it does make sense for Apple to secure a screen supply well in advance of actually shipping product. Apple seems to have skipped that step with some parts for the white iPhone this year, and you still can't get your hands on that model.

Altogether, this is potentially bad news for Cirrus and AT&T; great tidings for Wolfson and Marvell; good but not terrific for Qualcomm; and the next iPhone is shaping up to be the most impressive package yet. The obvious demand for OLED screens is also a catalyst of epic proportions for OLED technologist Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL  ) .

Buy on the rumor, sell on the news -- or do you have a different strategy in mind to play these juicy tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Universal Display is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Marvell Technology Group, and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (10)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2010, at 6:34 PM, Oldfool103 wrote:

    Buy and hold. This will keep going up through the 4th quarter (and beyond).

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2010, at 6:36 PM, BabyBeluga2 wrote:

    Aren't we both buying and selling on rumors here? These reports come to us second and third hand from Taiwan, Apple Insider and Barron's, right? The market is reacting to all of this inforumoring, but there is little clarity at the moment, no?

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2010, at 7:25 PM, MadMicro wrote:

    There is merit in the idea that Wolfson could take the design win away from Cirrus. But analysts are ignoring many other improvements in their business that mitigate against the possible loss of AAPL as a major customer. In 2009 CRUS nearly doubled revenues while keeping operational costs flat, the company is exceptionally well run. That said AAPL represents a lion's share of CRUS current revenue (34% in the June quarter). There is no question that losing the AAPL connection will impact Cirrus in the short term... depending on your investment philosophy that may be a "hold" signal, a "buy more" signal or a "sell" signal.

    Here are links to the relevant articles if anyone's i



    Apple Insider:

    Personally I'm going to sleep on it and see if the rumors dissipate tomorrow :) But I'm also going to think about the other opportunities in these rumors, here's the potential teardown list from Barron's:

    Qualcomm (QCOM) will reportedly provide baseband chips for both devices.

    Samsung will reportedly supply the CPU.

    Marvell (MRVL) will reportedly supply the Wi-Fi chip.

    Intel (INTC) is reportedly to provide the flash memory.

    Broadcom (BRCM) is reportedly the supplier for touch-screen controllers.

    Wolfson is reportedly supplying the audio chip - which is why CRUS is getting smacked.

    The Bluetooth chip is reportedly from CSR.

    Texas Instruments (TXN) is reportedly providing the power management chips.

    -- MM

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2010, at 7:58 AM, coveman100 wrote:

    The best OLED play is eMagin (EMAN). It is gearing up to meet huge consumer products demand such as mobile phones and simialr apps. Currently the bulk of its sales are to the military but scaling up production capacity to meet huge consumer demand.

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2010, at 10:47 AM, misutira wrote:

    Read the piece on market watch - rumor may be unreliable. The same source had a lot of incorrect information about the current iphone 4.

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