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After it’s own M1 chip, Apple is reportedly designing its own 5G modem

By Prakhar Khanna May 10, 2021, 9:27 am
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Apple is tipped to be planning on introducing its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones. For the unaware, Apple iPhones come equipped with a Qualcomm-designed 5G modem. However, it looks like the company will no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for future iPhones.

The latest development comes from MacRumors,which cites an investors note by the popular analyst Ming-Chi Kuo to reveal that Apple could be planning on making its own 5G modems for its future iPhones. As per Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023 iPhones “at the earliest.” Currently, Apple relies on Qualcomm for its 5G iPhone modem, and this reliance is expected to continue till the company diverts to its own chip.


If Apple indeed takes the step to make its own 5G iPhone modem, Qualcomm will be forced to enter new markets to compensate for the loss of orders from Apple. It is said that Qualcomm “will be forced to compete for more orders in the low-end market to compensate for Apple’s order loss. When the supply constraints improve, MediaTek and Qualcomm will have less bargaining power over brands, resulting in significantly higher competitive pressure in the mid to low-end market.”

Apple could design its own 5G modems to offer faster speeds, improved latency, and more benefits when compared to the Qualcomm or Intel counterparts. For reference, Apple has used Intel modems on its iPhones in the past. In 2019, the company purchased the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. At the time, Apple said that this move could “help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”


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