Apple has extended its modem procurement agreement with Qualcomm, indicating potential delays in the development of its custom 5G modem. Despite Apple’s ongoing efforts to establish an independent ecosystem by designing its own chips, the tech giant continues to see value in its collaboration with Qualcomm.
Since the launch of the iPhone 12, Apple has relied on Qualcomm’s technology for its 5G capabilities. Although there have been rumors of Apple intending to cut ties with Qualcomm, this recent agreement suggests otherwise. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon-branded 5G modems will be integrated into Apple devices until 2026.
Apple’s aspiration to be self-reliant is well-known, as seen in its successful transition from Intel chips to proprietary M-line processors in Macs. However, achieving the same level of expertise in 5G connectivity poses a greater challenge. Qualcomm’s proficiency in connecting to numerous satellite networks globally is unparalleled, making it difficult for Apple to replicate.
Despite past disputes, including legal battles over licensing fees, Apple and Qualcomm have set those aside to continue their collaboration. Apple’s strategic decisions, particularly its efforts to reduce reliance on third-party partners, will be closely observed as the company moves forward.
While speculation regarding Apple’s plans for its own modems in non-smartphone devices by 2026 generates excitement in the tech world, there is also anticipation surrounding potential 5G features in the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9.