According to a research note from JPMorgan (via CNBC), Apple's (AAPL 0.31%) next-generation iPhone models will have wireless charging capability, a feature that has been present on competing smartphones for a long time. Until now, however, it hasn't found its way into the iPhone.
Although the addition of wireless charging to the next-generation iPhone models is certainly interesting from the lens of Apple customers and/or investors, JPMorgan also highlighted a company that could be set to profit nicely from supplying the technology to make wireless charging in the iPhone possible: Broadcom (AVGO -1.60%).
A potentially nice payday for Broadcom
The analysts with JPMorgan estimate that the wireless charging chip win could translate into "$500 [million]-$600 [million] of annualized revenues to Broadcom's wireless business." By way of background, particularly for those unfamiliar with Broadcom, the chipmaker provides several critical components into Apple's (and others') smartphones, including radio frequency chips (required for cellular connectivity), as well as connectivity combo chips that enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality.
In Broadcom's most recent fiscal year (year ending on October 30, 2016), Broadcom's wireless communications business brought in approximately $3.72 billion in revenue, making up a solid 28% of the company's $13.24 billion in net revenue during the fiscal year.
An incremental $500 million-$600 million in revenue -- assuming JPMorgan analysts are right about both the design win, as well as the magnitude of the content per device -- would be good for about 14% year-over-year growth for the wireless business (using the midpoint of the $500 million-$600 million range, i.e. $550 million).
Obviously, since Broadcom is made up of more than just its wireless business, the incremental growth would be a far smaller percentage of its total revenues than of the wireless business, but all in all, this would be a solid win for Broadcom.
It's interesting what Apple's adoption of wireless charging could mean for the rest of the smartphone industry -- including Broadcom, as well as other suppliers of wireless charging technology. Again, Apple isn't the first to implement wireless charging, but once it implements a feature and drills into customers' minds that said feature is an essential one to the smartphone experience, then other smartphone makers are likely to follow.
Broader adoption of wireless charging, then, catalyzed by Apple's adoption, could mean additional revenue opportunities for largely the same components/technologies that Apple uses.
One more thing
Although this isn't directly related to wireless charging, it's once again related to Broadcom: JPMorgan says that the next-generation iPhone models will support Bluetooth 5.0, and that the Bluetooth functionality will be provided by Broadcom. Since Bluetooth functionality is often built into the Wi-Fi/connectivity chip, this only makes sense.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus support Bluetooth 4.2 technology. Bluetooth 5.0, per The Verge, "offers twice the bandwidth and four times the range as Bluetooth 4.2."
Properly marketed, especially given Apple's focus on wireless listening devices like its AirPods, Bluetooth 5.0 could be an interesting selling point for Apple's next-generation devices.