Korean firm wins deal over Asian rivals
South Korean component maker ITM Semiconductor is supplying the protection circuit used in Apple’s latest AirPods, TheElec has learned.
It is the South Korean firm’s second deal with Cupertino since 2019 when it supplied such circuits for AirPods Pro.
ITM beat Japan’s MinebeaMitsumi and Taiwan’s Compeq to become the sole supplier of the protection circuits to Apple.
The South Korean company’s competitors could likely not meet Apple’s requirements as they are seeing profitability dip from the chip shortage, a person familiar with the matter said.
MinebeaMitsumi gave up on supplying the circuits due to the situation which allowed ITM Semiconductor to secure the orders, they said.
Apple was also diversifying its protection circuit supply line and sorting out a new supplier among Chinese companies but ITM Semiconductor will likely take up the bulk of the order up to this year, they added.
The iPhone maker is also manufacturing AirPods in Vietnam rather than China.
ITM Semiconductor recently finished building its fifth factory in Vietnam which will start production next year.
The company offers protection module packages __ which are packaged versions of protection circuit modules.
The packages combined the protection IC, MOSFET and printed circuit board into one, reducing the overall size and reducing heat.
ITM Semiconductor is aiming to expand its capacity so that it can manufacture 110 million units of protection circuits per month by the end of the year.