Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors.

Apple 5G Modem Feature
According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023 iPhones "at the earliest." Apple currently relies on Qualcomm for its 5G iPhone modems and is expected to continue its reliance until it diverts to its own chip. When the diversion occurs, Qualcomm will be forced to enter new markets to compensate for the loss of orders from Apple.

We predict that the iPhone will adopt Apple's own design 5G baseband chips in 2023 at the earliest. As Android sales in the high-end 5G phone market are sluggish, 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.

In March, Barclays analysts reported that Apple will include its own custom-designed 5G modem starting with the 2023 iPhone. Apple's development of its own modem, which reportedly began in early 2020, has been widely reported.

Apple-designed modems can be expected to offer faster speeds, improved latency, among other benefits compared to Qualcomm or Intel modems, which powered earlier generation iPhones.

In 2019, Apple purchased the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business, a move that helped fuel the development of Apple's own in-house modem. Apple said at the time that the purchase will "help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward."

Top Rated Comments

cmaier Avatar
40 months ago

Yeah, keep dreaming. Qualcomm has been making modems a long time. Apple is just starting.
No they aren’t. They bought intel’s modem business, including most of the employees.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
40 months ago

And Intel modems were not really that great.
See prior response. This isn’t intel. It’s Apple combined with Intel’s experience.


ANyway, looking forward to coming back to this thread in a couple of years. Posters will look as dumb as the folks who said Apple could never design great iphone processors out of the gate, or the folks just a year ago who insisted that Apple‘s Arm CPUs would suck for macs.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Darth Tulhu Avatar
40 months ago
Yeah, folks.

Keep underestimating Apple here.

We know how that went the last time, right?

Apple is going to eventually "build" everything themselves.

I wonder if screens are next (no more Samsung).
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kcslc Avatar
40 months ago

No they aren’t. They bought intel’s modem business, including most of the employees.
And people loved intel’s modems…
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jprmercado Avatar
40 months ago

Yeah, keep dreaming. Qualcomm has been making modems a long time. Apple is just starting.
Well, many people said something similar when the very first iPhone came out in a sea of Nokias and Blackberrys. We all know how that eventually turned out.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
40 months ago

And people loved intel’s modems…
They love Apple’s processors (which were great starting with the first one they designed from scratch), so don’t you think that Intel’s experience, combined with Apple’s excellent hardware designers, bodes well? After all, these modems are MUCH simpler than the CPUs.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...