Apple audio chip supplier Cirrus reveals production snafu


Cirrus Logic, Apple’s primary audio chip supplier for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, has disclosed manufacturing problems related to a new audio device. The Wall Street Journal reports that while Cirrus didn’t specify Apple as the customer for the new chip, the iPod maker accounts for roughly half the company’s revenue, and is therefore the company most likely to have ordered such a component. According to the report, the chips went into volume production last month, but it was determined that few were performing properly, and an even lower ratio of chips were meeting standards as production increased. “While this is unfortunate, our highest priority was ensuring that we did not prevent a successful launch for our customer, said Cirrus CEO Jason Rhode, “and we believe that we have been successful in that regard.”

While the exact nature of the new chip and its capabilities is unknown, Apple has continued to push for lower-power chip solutions, and recently has touted the ability of certain AirPlay accessories—including the recently-released Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air—to handle 96KHz/24-bit audio. Apple has reportedly been in talks with music labels to obtain higher-quality audio files, which would offer the potential for sonic improvements that would likely be imperceptible to human ears under most conditions; the higher bitrates might be used in lossless, multi-channel audio, but not in most compressed audio files.

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Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.