A series of moves and acquisitions by Apple, as well as signals from its suppliers, make clear that the company – already known for its powerful and efficient Apple Silicon chips – aims to start designing its own modems for the world-beating iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and, possibly, finally for Macs, smartglasses, and beyond.
Doing so could enable a future of always-on smart glasses and augmented reality, more wearables with their own independent connection to cellular networks, Mac laptops with 5G connectivity, and faster-than-ever downloads and streaming on its flagship iPhones.
But first, the company must accomplish something that has defeated other tech giants, including Intel: It must show that not only can it design its own wireless modems, but that it can make them good enough to justify switching away from the ones Apple now uses, which are made by Qualcomm, for decades the world’s dominant modem-chip maker.
Apple keeps details of its chip operation, like much of the rest of its business, closely guarded secrets… There are, however, plenty of signposts showing where Apple is headed on modem chips. The company agreed in 2019 to acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone-modem business, including 2,200 employees, and since then has continued hiring engineers with related expertise, often at satellite offices in the same cities as its sometime-partners and possible future competitors in wireless technology.
MacDailyNews Take: Last November, Qualcomm aid that the company believes it will supply only 20% of the modem chips in Apple iPhones as of Apple’s 2023 launch. Qualcomm did not say whether it believes Apple will self-supply all of the share that Qualcomm expects to lose or whether it might turn to other vendors, but obviously, Apple is working on their own modems.
Apple didn’t buy Intel’s modem business and invest billions into designing their own modems in order to source modems from some other vendor. – MacDailyNews, November 16, 2021
I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do. — Steve Jobs
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