Apple has been developing its own modem chips for iPhone, and some reports suggested that the company would start using them as soon as 2023. However, a statement from Qualcomm suggests that Apple will keep using third-party modems rather than its own chips for the 2023 iPhone models.
Apple delays plans to put its own 5G modem in the iPhone
According to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, Qualcomm has confirmed to its investors that it will “retain its current foothold” of modem supplies to Apple. Previously, Qualcomm expected to supply only 20% of Apple’s demand for the component by 2023.
The statement goes in the opposite direction of what previous reports have suggested about Apple ditching Qualcomm’s 5G modems in favor of its own chips starting next year.
Back in 2019, Apple acquired Intel’s smartphone modem division for $1 billion. With the acquisition, Apple also gained a portfolio of over 17,000 patents and over 2,200 Intel employees. However, Qualcomm and Apple ended up fighting in court over patent royalty fees, and they eventually reached a six-year agreement, which expires in 2025.
Unsurprisingly, Apple is deeply interested in reducing its reliance on third-party suppliers, especially at a time when the company has been replacing Intel processors with its own chips in Mac computers. However, Intel’s 5G modems have never been as efficient as Qualcomm’s. Bloomberg notes that prototype chips made by Apple have been suffering from overheating.
It’s worth noting that Qualcomm is also the supplier of the satellite communication module used by iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, although some of the radio frequency components were designed by Apple.
Apple declined to comment on the matter, but it now seems that we won’t see iPhones using Apple’s own 5G modems until at least 2024.
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