Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Apple’s Struggle with Developing Cellular Modems Continues

Apple’s endeavor to create its own cellular modems seems to be an ongoing challenge. Earlier this year, Qualcomm’s CEO stated that he believed Apple would start using their own 5G chips in 2024. Speculation arose that the new iPhone SE released in spring 2024 would serve as a test case for this transition.

However, it appears that Apple is facing difficulties in developing a 5G modem that can rival Qualcomm’s offerings. Qualcomm recently announced that they will continue supplying Snapdragon 5G modems for iPhone launches in 2024, 2025, and 2026, suggesting that Apple has not yet achieved the desired level of performance with its own modems.

It is important to note that Qualcomm’s statement does not indicate exclusivity or that all Apple products will use their modems. It is possible that Apple may use their own 5G modem in future iPhone models beyond the iPhone SE.

Apple’s attempts to produce its own 5G modems have been met with challenges. In 2019, Apple acquired Intel’s cellular modem business with the goal of reducing dependence on Qualcomm and other vendors. However, after four years, no product has been released featuring an Apple-designed modem, and it seems that it will take at least a couple more years before one is introduced.

Designing and manufacturing advanced cellular modems is a complex task, and Qualcomm currently holds a dominant position in this field. Apple not only needs to ensure that their modem functions properly but also matches or exceeds the performance and power efficiency of Qualcomm’s offerings. It would be unreasonable for Apple to release an iPhone with inferior cellular capabilities compared to its predecessors.