Apple Developing In-House Modem That Will Eventually Replace Qualcomm Chips

Apple is now developing its own cellular modem that will be used in future devices and that will eventually replace modem components sourced from Qualcomm, reports Bloomberg.

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The information was shared by Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji at 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," he said. "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."

Rumors in early 2019 suggested that Apple was planning to design a modem in-house, and mid-2019, Apple purchased the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business to accelerate its own development efforts. Apple took over Intel's modem-related intellectual property and hired 2,200 Intel employees.

At the time, Srouji said that the Intel team would join Apple's cellular technologies group, and that the acquisition would "expedite development on future products." Apple is ultimately aiming to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, the company that currently supplies its modem chips.

Apple for several years was embroiled in a major patent dispute with Qualcomm, but when it became clear Apple would need Qualcomm's chip technology for the 5G iPhone 12 models released in 2020, Apple reached a settlement with Qualcomm and signed a multi-year licensing deal.

Apple has now built a team of hardware and software engineers that will develop the cellular modem, and it will join other wireless chips designed by Apple that include the W-series chips in the Apple Watch and the U1 ultrawide band chip in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. Apple also makes its own A-series chips for iPhones and as of this year, has released Macs with Apple-designed processors.

There is no word on when Apple's modem chips will be ready, but the 2019 settlement between Apple and Qualcomm included a six-year licensing agreement.

Top Rated Comments

SDJim Avatar
24 months ago
Oh good, I was completely under the assumption they spent $1B to purchase Intel's modem business as a joke... :rolleyes:
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rochy Bay Avatar
24 months ago
They are not just after the app services competitors, or Intel. They are after everyone LOL.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Taz Mangus Avatar
24 months ago

It wouldn't surprise me if Apple is selling other companies their chips within 5 years.
Apple has zero incentive to do that. Not going to happen.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wesley96 Avatar
24 months ago
Apple is stepping up its vertical integration level every chance it can get. It got burned by 3rd parties way too many times in its history.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
24 months ago
Didn’t we already know they were working on this?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacDevil7334 Avatar
24 months ago
No surprise. Apple getting back with Qualcomm was clearly a marriage of convenience (probably the only way to get decent 5G radios for the iPhone). Clearly Apple wants to ditch them as soon as possible with all the bad blood of the last few years.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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