Apple Diversifies Supply Chain for Custom-Designed 5G Modem for iPhones in 2023
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 that ASE and SPIL have both been Qualcomm's partners for packaging 5G modem chips for iPhones, including its latest Snapdragon X65 5G modem-RF system now being manufactured at Samsung Electronics.
Apple is estimated to ship at least 200 million new iPhones in 2023, and will surely rely on multiple partners to handle backend processing of its in-house 5G modem chips and RF transceiver ICs, based on its regular supply chain management policy for its devices, the sources added.
Apple has already lined up its main chip manufacturing partner TSMC to begin producing the majority of its new in-house modem chips, which are expected to appear in the 2023 iPhone.
Apple and TSMC are currently trialing production of Apple's in-house modem designs using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, but that they will shift to the more advanced 4-nanometer technology for mass production.
TSMC is already aiming to use 4-nanometer technology for the main A-series chip in the 2022 iPhone lineup, with 2022 iPads and 2023 iPhones moving to 3-nanometer technology for their A-series chips.
The move, which has been under development for several years and enhanced by Apple's 2019 acquisition of the majority of Intel's modem business, will allow Apple to shift away from Qualcomm as a supplier for the important chips that support cellular connectivity.
Top Rated Comments
Tim is an operations guy. He optimizes supply chains and reduces cost wherever possible.
I miss the old Apple the focused on innovation and bringing new ideas to market, rather than just profit margin.
I have had some issues with Apple First Generation devices. The First Generation Apple Watch was the latest not ready for prime time device.
PS. I am a very happy Apple Watch with my Series 7.
Apple tried to get Intel to produce 5G modem chips but that ended in failure as well. Then Apple buys Intels modem business.
Qualcomm hold all the good patents for modems so unless Apple has decided to pay a license fee to use some of those patents I cannot see their chip fairing well and if it does I would expect Qualcomm to come calling because they will naturally be asking 'How did Apple achieve what they achieved without using any of the patents we hold that would allow the chip to behave the way it's behaving'. No doubt there will be court cases again.