Bottom line: Apple is reportedly hiring dozens of engineers to develop wireless chips at a new office in Irvine, California, with the goal of eventually lessening or eliminating its dependence on third-party wireless chipmakers like Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions. The project is said to still be in the early stages, but there's little doubt that existing Apple suppliers are already concerned.

Bloomberg, who was first to report on the matter, cited recent Apple job listings for candidates with experience in building modems and other wireless chips.

The publication further noted that the initiative is part of a broader strategy to expand Apple’s satellite offices, allowing the tech titan to home in on engineering hotbeds and attract candidates that might not want to work at its headquarters in Cupertino.

Apple, if you recall, purchased Intel’s 5G modem business back in 2019, with the chipmaker selling it “at a multi-billion dollar loss.” We’ve since heard that Apple is working with TSMC to build custom 5G modem chips for the iPhone, and that the first iterations could arrive as early as 2023.

Earlier this week, Apple scrapped its February deadline to have corporate employees return to the office. A spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that a new return-to-office date has not yet been set. Apple also reportedly announced a $1,000 bonus for every employee to buy equipment to help them work from home.

Image credit Daniel Constante