Apple is reportedly developing its own cellular modem chip
Apple will soon start offering its own in-house 5G modems for future devices including iPhones and iPads. The company is said to be working on its own cellular chip design, which seems like a move to be less reliant on its current modem supplier, Qualcomm. The information was reportedly disclosed by Apple Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies, Mr. Johny Srouji, in a town hall meeting with Apple employees. “This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem which will enable another key strategic transition. Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future,” said Srouji.
We have been hearing about Apple focusing on its own modem for a while now. While it currently uses Qualcomm’s 5G components on its latest iPhone 12 lineup, Apple had taken Qualcomm to court over patent licensing fees in 2017, which was settled later on. Prior to Qualcomm, Apple worked with Intel from 2016 to 2018 but had to change its supplier as it wasn’t able to deliver working 5G technology for its 2020 devices. Intel eventually halted the development of its 5G modem tech and had sold the entire patent portfolio to Apple for $1 billion.
There’s no confirmation as to when we could see the first Apple-made 5G cellular chips in action. However, Bloomberg’s report suggests that a 2019 patent agreement between Apple and Qualcomm includes a six-year licensing pact where it will charge license fees based on the wireless patents it owns, even if Apple uses the chips or not. With that said, the company is already focusing on expanding its Apple Silicon chipsets to more Mac products. We recently saw a report suggesting that the company is testing powerful versions of its M1 chip with up to 16 power-cores and four high-efficiency cores, most likely for its upcoming iMacs and larger sized MacBook Pro refresh. There is also one that is rumored to have 32-performance cores that might power the next-gen Mac Pro expected to arrive by 2022.