Apple says it will establish a new location in San Diego, add 1,000 jobs over three years
Apple said Thursday that it plans to expand in San Diego, bringing 1,000 employees to the local workforce over the next three years.The Cupertino-based iPhone maker, which is in a bitter legal fight with San Diego’s Qualcomm over patent fees, made the announcement as part of its unveiling of a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas.
Apple said it is establishing new sites in San Diego, Seattle and Culver City. It did not name a specific location for San Diego, but it is rumored to be targeting a new 95,000-square-foot building in the University City/Eastgate area. An Apple spokesperson said the company is not disclosing further information about the San Diego site at this time.
Apple has been advertising for engineering workers in San Diego in recent months, including jobs involving cellular modems and other radio frequency components used in smartphones. There are 19 positions currently open in the region on Apple’s website with titles such as cellular modem system architect and a system on a chip verification engineer.
That would pit Apple against Qualcomm on a new front – the competition for wireless talent. Analysts have speculated for years that Apple intends to design more of its own components that go into smartphones. It used to buy cellular modems from Qualcomm but recently switched exclusively to Intel for its latest iPhone models.
The loss of Apple’s business, along with the ongoing legal battles, have hurt Qualcomm’s financial results. The cellular technology giant has laid off about 1,500 employees in San Diego this year.
Apple operates retail stores in San Diego County but hasn’t employed a significant engineering workforce in the region. It owns two companies with local offices. In September, Apple acquired app developer Shazam, which has a San Diego satellite operation. Apple also owns Emotient, a local artificial intelligence firm.
“This will be a great boon for the San Diego region, adding to the luster of our already top design community,” said Don Norman, director of the UC San Diego Design Lab and the former director of research at Apple. “This will add to growth, helping make us more than a tourist town.”
Apple isn’t the only tech giant looking to tap into the San Diego region’s technology talent pool. Google leased a 60,000-square-foot satellite office here in 2016, and Amazon opened a 107,000-square-foot campus last year. And data analytics firm Teradata relocated its headquarters from Ohio to San Diego in October.
“Joining an influx of other large tech firms like Amazon, Google and Teradata, Apple is setting up a significant operation in San Diego to take advantage of the region’s STEM talent,” said Mark Cafferty, head of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., in a statement. “We look forward to building a stronger working relationship with Apple to help them grow and succeed in this already thriving tech hub.”
The University of California San Diego’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering has nearly 2,800 students, making it among the largest of its kind in the U.S. It’s part of a program that is already doing research with Qualcomm and others on a technologies such as 5G, which is expected to greatly increase data rates for mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
“It’s more proof of the great tech ecosystem and talent we have in San Diego,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “It also shows our strategy of investing in our people, our neighborhoods and our universities is continuing to pay off.”
San Diego State University opened a new research center in January that will be partly devoted to developing software for mobile and wearable devices.
“San Diego State University and Apple are both deeply committed to investing in talent for the San Diego region and are working to expand our pipeline for the tech industry,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre.
In addition to adding 1,000 jobs in San Diego, Seattle and Culver City each over the next three years, Apple said it would boost employment in Boston, Boulder, Colo., New York, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.
The company recently opened its newest office in Nashville, Tenn., and Apple’s Miami office is projected to double in size.
Apple said it has added 6,000 jobs to its American workforce in 2018 and now employs 90,000 people in all 50 states.
“Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, in a statement. “Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or ZIP code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide.”
Apple said its 133-acre Austin campus will initially accommodate 5,000 additional employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000, and is expected to make Apple the largest private employer in Austin, the company said.
Apple also plans to invest $10 billion in U.S. data centers over the next five years, including $4.5 billion this year and next. Apple’s data centers in Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina are being expanded. It is also preparing to open a data center in Iowa.
The iPhone maker’s legal war with Qualcomm has been heating up. A Chinese court this week banned the sale of several iPhone models there for infringing on two Qualcomm patents. Apple has asked the court to reconsider its decision.
In addition, the U.S. International Trade Commission will take a second look at Qualcomm’s request to ban sales of iPhones in the U.S. that contain Intel chips for infringing on a Qualcomm energy saving patent.
A commission administrative law judge in September ruled that iPhones should not be banned because it would harm competition in the cellular modem chip market and possibly result in Intel abandoning the wireless market. A decision is expected in February.