Apple rumored to adopt GaN for smaller charger designs

Apple is rumored to be planning smaller and lighter versions of its USB-C wall chargers. The report comes from Digitimes, which says that Navitas Semiconductor is expected to obtain orders for gallium nitride, or GaN, chargers from Apple in 2021.

Apple charger rumors

The report also adds that Apple supplier TSMC will be included in the process and supply the GaN chips themselves to Navitas:

Ireland-based Navitas Semiconductor, US-based Power Integrations and China-based Innoscience are the global top-three suppliers of fast charging solutions based on GaN-on-Si chips. Navitas are expected to obtain orders from Apple and other vendors in 2021, with TSMC to supply GaN-on-Si chips, industry sources noted.

Details here are somewhat sparse, but the need for Apple to adopt GaN technology is increasing as third-party accessory makers enter the market. A variety of companies make GaN chargers that are both smaller and faster than the USB-C chargers Apple includes with its MacBook lineup and sells separately for its iPhones.

In fact, Navitas created the GaNFast solution, which is the gallium nitride technology used by brands such as Xiaomi and Aukey. Apple can use the Navitas technology to help make its first-party chargers similar in size and power to what we’re seeing from other companies, ranging up to 300W.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Apple’s plans to release new chargers sometime in 2021. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported last month that Apple will likely release “2 or 3 new chargers in 2021,” and we speculated at the time that these could be more powerful wall chargers with faster charging using GaN technology.

Apple’s charger lineup has grown quite complex over the last several years, with a variety of oddities as we reported earlier today. Adopting GaN technology could help Apple streamline its charging lineup, and make it more versatile with dual-port designs, faster performance, and more.

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