Apple's 5G modems may arrive later than anticipated

Apple’s 5G modems may arrive later than anticipated

Apple allegedly intended to switch to its own 5G modems with its 2023 iPhones, but Qualcomm now wants to manufacture the ‘vast bulk’ of 5G modems for those handsets.

Qualcomm indicated on its Q4 2022 earnings call that Apple would once again depend on Qualcomm modems for its 2023 iPhones, which means we’ll have to wait a bit longer for Apple to unveil its long-rumoured proprietary 5G modem.

In 2021, Nikkei claimed that Apple was planning to launch its 5G modem in 2023 in collaboration with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), and Qualcomm had previously projected that it would account for 20% of modem orders for the 2023 iPhones. However, Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala said on Wednesday’s call that the firm now expects to “have the great majority of share of 5G modems by the 2023 iPhone launch.”

Three months after its unexpected 2019 settlement with Qualcomm, Apple purchased “the bulk” of Intel’s smartphone modem business, so it’s not exactly a secret that the corporation is working on its own modems. It’s hardly surprising that Apple would want to develop its own version of one of the most critical elements of a smartphone after the success of its numerous proprietary CPUs for items like iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches.

However, Apple’s attempts have allegedly hit some roadblocks. After modem chip development “may have failed,” Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in June that Qualcomm will be the only provider of 5G processors for the 2023 iPhones, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in July that Apple’s modem prototypes had been overheating “for the last year or so.” Whatever is going on behind the scenes, it all implies that Qualcomm will be a major supplier for another batch of iPhones, which might be a blessing after what could be a difficult Christmas season this year.