iPhone 5G modem reportedly going proprietary next year, and here's why that matters

iPhone 5G modem reportedly going proprietary next year, and here’s why that matters

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As previously reported, Apple plans to pretty much ditch Qualcomm’s cellular modems for its proprietary 5G modem starting in 2023. According to a story by the Wall Street Journal, not only does Apple keep aiming for a next-year release, but it’s giving out lots of hints.

Apple is known for its secrecy, but when a shift in the chip market comes closer, not even the Cupertino company can hide its moves. The Wall Street Journal reports some signposts of where Apple is headed on modern chips. For example:

  • In 2019, the company acquired the majority of Intel’s smartphone-modem business, including 2,200 employees;
  • In Qualcomm’s hometown, San Diego, Apple is advertising around 140 positions directly related to developing and integrating cellular modem chips;
  • In 2021, Qualcomm’s CFO said the company expected to supply 20% of the 5G modems Apple uses in its mobile devices in 2023, while the company currently supplies nearly 100% of them now.

With these three points in mind, it seems like Apple is not only developing its proprietary 5G modems, but it will also be important as it will give the company even more advantages over competitors, as explained by Wayne Lam, senior director of research at CCS Insight.

The first is cost, says Wayne Lam. (..) Another big advantage Apple could gain is that, by integrating its own modems onto the same A-series chip that powers its phones, it could tweak them in ways that would make them faster, more efficient, and more capable than what’s possible with its current combination of its own chips and Qualcomm’s.

While building its 5G modem looks promising for Apple – and the M chips for the Mac are a success – an analyst says that Apple may struggle with designing, manufacturing, and then testing a new wireless modem since it takes a very long time.

9to5Mac’s Take

One thing is for sure – if Apple is entering the 5G modem market and plans to use it on the 2023 iPhone, the company is more than ready to do that.

The rumored iPhone 15, which is important to note, is the one that should get a periscope lens. Not only that, but DSCC’s analyst Ross Young believes Apple will expand the hole-punch + pill design to the entire lineup of the 2023 iPhone.

With a proprietary processor, 5G modem, and its own software, Apple will sure have a lot to talk about this new phone.

How do you think Apple developing its own 5G modem will improve its iPhones, iPads, and possibly Macs? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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