Apple’s homegrown modems are taking longer than expected

For years, Apple has been working on its own modems in order to free itself from the Qualcomm extortionist, but the effort is taking longer than even Qualcomm expected.

Qualcomm intros Snapdragon X65 5G 10Gbps modem for 2022 iPhone
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 5G 10Gbps modem

Back in November 2021, Qualcomm said that the company believes believed it would supply only 20% of the modem chips in Apple iPhones as of Apple’s 2023 launch, but Qualcomm now believes it will supply the majority of Apple’s modems in 2023 and, possibly, beyond.

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

That means Qualcomm will continue to get a solid revenue stream from Apple’s large iPhone volumes. It also suggests Apple’s in-house initiative is running behind.

In 2018, during a feud with Qualcomm over patents, Apple started kicking around the idea of adopting its own modem design. In 2019, the two companies settled, ensuring that Apple would get 5G modems in time for the iPhone 12. That same year, Apple acquired Intel Corp.’s modem unit.

In 2020, Johny Srouji, Apple’s chip development chief, told employees that work on an in-house modem was well underway. But in recent months, I’ve heard that the project has faced challenges, including prototypes overheating.

MacDailyNews Take: This only underscores how difficult it is to develop cellular modems (especially, if you’re trying to work around others’ patents). The challenge continues.

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  1. Another way of looking at it — What if the purchase of Intel’s modems and patents was not for the short term goal of competing with Qualcomm’s phone modems; rather, to develop modems in long term products such as Apple Glasses and the Apple Car — something to consider.

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