Apple-Designed 5G Modem to Be Separate From A-Series Chip, Again Rumored to Debut in 2023 iPhones

Apple will debut its rumored custom-designed 5G modem in 2023's iPhone models and the component will not be integrated into the device's A-series chip, DigiTimes reports.

Apple 5G Modem Feature
In paywalled report published earlier today, sources speaking to DigiTimes said that 2022 will be the last year when Qualcomm supplies all of the modems in ‌iPhone‌ models. Thereafter, iPhones are expected to begin featuring 5G baseband modem chips designed by Apple itself.

The 5G modem that Apple has developed for its 2023 ‌iPhone‌ models is said to be separate from its A-series chip, tentatively called the "A17." This stands in contrast to the initial Android devices that are looking to feature custom modems, which reportedly intend to integrate both the cellular processor (CP) and application processor (AP) directly into the device's System on Chip (SoC).

TSMC, the Taiwanese company that currently supplies all of Apple's custom silicon SoCs, is believed to be preparing to supply Apple with its custom-designed 5G baseband modem.

At its investor day earlier this week, Qualcomm said that it expects to supply just 20 percent of Apple's modem chips in 2023, suggesting that Apple will self-supply up to 80 percent of the 5G modem chips required for iPhones starting in 2023.

It is not unreasonable to speculate that the remaining 20 percent supplied by Qualcomm will be in older or entry-level devices in the 2023 ‌iPhone‌ lineup. On the other hand, the remaining 20 percent could also include devices made for regions where Apple's 5G modem is not supported.

Apple is believed to have kickstarted the work on its own in-house modem chips, with the aim of moving away from Qualcomm, by acquiring Intel's modem chip business in 2019.

The report lines up with previous rumors that said that Apple's modem chip will be ready to launch in 2023.

Top Rated Comments

wanha Avatar
26 weeks ago

it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why,
lol wut?

Apple bought PA Semi in 2009. The Intel beating CPUs came out in 2020. Duration: 11 years.

Apple bought Intel's modem business in 2019. It's only been 2 years...
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LeadingHeat Avatar
26 weeks ago

DigiTimes, really? At least their "fingers in the air" statement sort of makes sense, the first generation won't be integrated in the SOC because Apple has already planned m2 launching in 2022 and m3 CPUs launching in 2023, but the second generation modems will integrate into m4 around 2024. That's how CPU design works and how far ahead they plan.
Unless they’re also planning to include it in their MacBook lineup… then it would make sense to keep it separate so it’s easily addable to different systems and chips.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jdb8167 Avatar
26 weeks ago

it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why,
Because 5G cellular modems are very hard to get right. They are incredibly complex and have a lot of analog components. Apple has been building their own SoCs since 2012 and they weren't comfortable to replace notebook CPUs until 2020. They can't do the same gradual learning process with the 5G modem. It has to work the first time with all the features meeting international specifications. Can you imagine the disaster if Apple's 5G modem doesn't work well on Apple's flagship iPhones?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cal6n Avatar
26 weeks ago
Any part of the stack you do not control controls you.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
michalm Avatar
26 weeks ago

it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why,
5G modems are a licensing minefield with Qualcomm punishing everyone for even the smallest misstep. Bear in mind that for the CPUs, Apple partially founded ARM and they are licensed to do whatever they desire.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
26 weeks ago
it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why,
The challenge is likely working around Qualcomm patents.

I find this move timely. On one hand, it should improve Apple’s margins significantly by either reducing the IP fees Apple pays out (down from $90 to $20), though I would impressed if Apple is able to circumvent the fees to Qualcomm altogether.

The second is that the less Qualcomm earns from Apple, the less money it has for R&D, and the slower it will be able to innovate relative to Apple. Which again is typically how most downward spirals begin.

The prospects of an Apple-owned satellite beaming data to Apple-designed modems is also a very appealing one.

Bring it on, Apple!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iPad Air Feature 2 green

Buyer's Guide: Don't Buy an iPad Air Right Now – New Model Imminent

Monday February 21, 2022 2:16 am PST by
The fifth-generation iPad Air is expected to arrive in less than a week with a number of notable features and improvements, so prospective customers should now hold off on buying an iPad Air until the new model arrives. According to Japanese blog Mac Otakara, Apple is planning to give the fifth-generation iPad Air features from the sixth-generation iPad mini. This seems plausible since the...
iPhone SE 2022 Red Feature

Apple Event Announced for March 8: 'Peek Performance'

Wednesday March 2, 2022 9:03 am PST by
Apple today announced that it will be holding its first event of 2022 on Tuesday, March 8 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As with the 2021 events, Apple's first event of 2022 will continue to be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to...
intel logo

Intel Plans to Make Chips for Qualcomm in the Future

Monday July 26, 2021 3:17 pm PDT by
Intel today announced that it is teaming up with Qualcomm to manufacture some of Qualcomm's future chips. The chips will be manufactured using Intel's 20A process, which is expected to ramp in 2024. There is no word on which chips Intel will make for Qualcomm, but Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips are used in most Android smartphones. Though the 20A design is expected to be available starting in...
qualcomm snapdragon x65

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X65 Modem Upgraded With Wider mmWave Coverage Ahead of Inclusion in 2022 iPhones

Wednesday May 19, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Qualcomm today announced it has upgraded its Snapdragon X65 5G modem with improved power efficiency and support for wider mmWave carriers, a key requirement ahead of the rollout of 5G mmWave networks in China. Specifically, the modem now supports wider 200MHz carrier bandwidth in the mmWave spectrum and mmWave in standalone (SA) mode, while new power-saving technologies part of Qualcomm 5G...
qualcomm snapdragon x70

Qualcomm Unveils 5G Snapdragon X70 Modem That May Appear in 2023 iPhones

Tuesday March 1, 2022 2:26 am PST by
Qualcomm has unveiled its new 5G Snapdragon X70 modem, which is likely to be the last Qualcomm modem to be used by Apple in its iPhones before it switches to in-house custom-designed chips. Qualcomm says its latest 5G modem for smartphones includes "the world's first 5G AI processor integrated in a 5G Modem-RF System," which is supposed to increase the average download and uplink speeds on...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Apple Diversifies Supply Chain for Custom-Designed 5G Modem for iPhones in 2023

Wednesday February 23, 2022 2:18 am PST by
Apple is in preliminary talks with new suppliers about backend orders for its first in-house 5G modem chips for iPhones, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple is reportedly negotiating with ASE Technology, which owns Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL), to package some of its first self-designed 5G modem chips. The report notes...
Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Qualcomm Expecting to Supply Just 20% of 2023 iPhone Modems As Apple Prepares to Launch Its Own Chips

Tuesday November 16, 2021 9:18 am PST by
Qualcomm is preparing for the launch of Apple's own modem chips, which will cut into Qualcomm's modem business starting in 2023. At today's Investor Day event, Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala said that Qualcomm expects to supply just 20 percent of Apple's modem chips in 2023. If that's an accurate estimate, it means that 2022 will be the last year that Qualcomm enjoys a modem monopoly in...
iphone se 5g

iPhone SE and iPad Air Don't Offer Fastest mmWave 5G

Tuesday March 8, 2022 11:36 am PST by
The new $429 iPhone SE and $599 iPad Air with 5G connectivity do not appear to support the fastest mmWave 5G bands, based on the technical specifications listed on Apple's website. Both the iPhone SE and the iPad Air mention support for the following 5G bands in the U.S.: 5G NR (Bands n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n29, n30, n38, n40, n41, n48, n66, n71, n77, n78, n79), but...

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...