Apple 5G Modem
Apple is still having problems with its efforts to create a 5G modem to take the place of Qualcomm’s 5G modems in the iPhone and other devices.
Apple began a significant attempt to build its own modem technology in 2019 after acquiring the majority of Intel’s smartphone business; nevertheless, the project has encountered several obstacles. Apple is still “years away” from producing a processor that can match or surpass the performance of competing Qualcomm chips.
Future of 5G Modem Technology
In addition to missing its original target of having an internal modem chip operational by 2024, Gurman claims that Apple will also miss its extended spring 2025 launch window. The modem chip debut has now been pushed back until late 2025 or early 2026, and Apple still intends to include the technology in a low-cost iPhone SE model.
It is stated that modem chip development is still in its infancy and “may lag behind the competition by years.” Faster mmWave technology is not supported by one version that is in development, and Apple has had problems with the Intel code that it has been using. Rewrites have been necessary, and including new capabilities has been breaking old features. Additionally, Apple must take care while creating the processor to avoid infringing on Qualcomm’s patents.
Apple 5G Modem Expectations
Gurman was purportedly informed by an Apple employee, “Why they thought they could take a failed project from Intel and somehow succeed is a mystery.” It’s also said that Apple’s hardware technologies section is “stretched thin” working on many projects, which makes it harder to fix faults.
When Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017 for unjustly collecting royalties for technology it had nothing to do with, the company’s misgivings were made clear. Apple felt that Qualcomm was overcharging for its technology in modem chips.
With the release of the iPhone 11 range, Apple was able to forgo utilizing Qualcomm CPUs in favor of Intel chips, however their partnership was short-lived. Following the release of the iPhone 11, Apple expressed a desire to stick with Intel CPUs for its initial 5G iPhone models, the iPhone 12, but Intel was unable to provide 5G chips that met Apple’s requirements.
Rather, Apple was compelled to resolve its legal conflict with Qualcomm, and all legal proceedings were terminated. A new deal was signed by the two businesses, and it was extended in September 2023. The most recent agreement with Qualcomm extends through Apple’s postponed modem chip development and includes smartphone debuts in 2024, 2025, and 2026.
Apple is determined to end its expensive partnership with Qualcomm, which is why the company is continuing with its efforts to develop a modem processor, despite the setbacks. In the future, Apple intends to construct a system-on-a-chip, which will enable it to get rid of suppliers like Broadcom and exert more control over component development. The standalone semiconductor will be the company’s first modem chip.