Kuo: iPhones will switch to Apple’s own 5G modems in 2023 “at the earliest”

Apple
Tamsin Rodriguez22 May 2021Last Update : 1 year ago
Kuo: iPhones will switch to Apple’s own 5G modems in 2023 “at the earliest”

Apple brought CPU and GPU development internally, and at least in 2019, there have been rumors that they want to design its own 5G modems. At the time, it was thought that the first proprietary silicon modems would appear in 2022 iPhones, but the latest investor note from Ming-Chi Kuo revises it to “no earlier than 2023”.

This is consistent with an earlier report from a team of analysts at Barclays that also points to 2023. The modem supports both sub-6 and mmWave 5G.

Apple first officially confirmed that they have started working on a modem in December 2020. A few months ago, they announced an investment year of 1 billion. € to build a new R&D facility in Munich, Germany. Its main goal will be to develop 5G and future wireless technologies, but it will also explore other technologies.


Apple’s plant in Munich will develop 5G and other wireless technologies

In addition to Apple’s desire to control the entire hardware and software stack for its products, the modem industry proved rather controversial – a patent dispute led Apple to drop its long-running modem supplier, Qualcomm, and switch to inferior Intel designs back in 2018. However, Intel’s modem department fought for to make a profit, so the company left the market and sold its division to Apple for 1 billion. $ I 2019.

This serves as Apple’s basis for developing its own 5G modems. But for now, the company has gone back to Qualcomm – court documents revealed that the iPhone 12 series uses the X55 5G modem and that there is an agreement in place through 2023 to use a mix of X65 and X70 modems for the iPhone 13 and 14 generations.

That means Apple has a payback plan if its own 5G modem is not ready for launch in 2023. But if that is the case, Qualcomm will lose millions of orders – Apple’s business boosted the chip giant’s sales to impressive levels last year. No matter what, the writing is on the wall.

Kuo believes this will force Qualcomm to push 5G designs harder into mid-range and even entry-level segments to make up for lost sales. Another upcoming problem is that the current chip shortage is giving the company a lot of bargaining power right now, but it will eventually get easier and Qualcomm (and even MediaTek) will feel the pressure to lower prices.

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