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Apple Reportedly Creating Own iPhone Modem to Ditch Qualcomm

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro MaxPhoto: Caitlin McGarry

Apple plants new flowers in his walled garden. And by that I mean that the company is reportedly designing more internal chips to reduce its reliance on third-party chipmakers like Qualcomm.

The M-series processors from the tech giant from Cupertino have been all the rage in the computing world since they debuted in the MacBook Air last year. But while Apple took the heart of its laptops and tablets away from Intel, some other organs are still produced by other companies. And as we know, Apple doesn’t like to rely on things that don’t belong to Apple.

Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that the Tim Cook-led company would develop its own 5G modem, the chip that connects you to a cellular network, and replace the current Qualcomm modem of the iPad and iPhone. to replace. Kuo seemed unsure of a timeline, but said the trade would take place in 2023 at the earliest.

A new report from Nikkei Asia weighs in, claiming Apple is nearing a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to release a 5G iPhone modem by 2023. According to unnamed sources, the report uses a 4-nanometer die to surround a 5G modem with millimeter wave technology and its own power management chip to keep things running smoothly.

The splintered relationship between Apple and Qualcomm is well documented. The two tech giants are embroiled in a long-running feud that intensified when Apple sued the chipmaker for “double-dipping” by charging “unreasonable” royalties for its modem chips on top of licensing fees. The two companies eventually settled all pending lawsuits and agreed to a six-year licensing deal.

This was not a happy reunion. Apple’s plans to build its own modems are no secret after the company showed its hand by buying Intel’s smartphone modem company for $1 billion, just months after resolving the modem dispute with Qualcomm. Apple is expected to use Qualcomm chips in its upcoming iPhones before phasing them out soon. Qualcomm, which supplies the modems (chips, among others) for most smartphones, said it expects just 20% of iPhone modem orders in two years.

By using its own modems, Apple can better monitor the quality and supply of its chips. Keeping things in-house should also allow for better integration into Apple’s product lineup to allow for faster speeds and lower latency. I dream of a future where MacBooks come standard with 5G cellular connectivity.

Apple embarrassed Intel with its latest M-series processors and now has another chance to prove it can handle things on its own, as long as it can handle more potential legal battles.

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