Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem for iPhones to Debut in 2025

Apple plans to use its own modem chip for iPhones starting in 2025, according to information shared today by supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He previously said the fourth-generation iPhone SE would be Apple's first device with the custom-designed 5G modem, but it's not entirely clear if this is still the plan anymore.

5G Modem Feature Blue
In July, it was reported that mass-production of the fourth-generation iPhone SE was delayed until 2025, so there is still a chance that it could be the first device with Apple's modem, but there have been conflicting rumors about the project.

Apple has reportedly been planning its own modem for over five years, and it acquired the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business in 2019. Based on the 2025 timeframe, iPhone 15 and iPhone 16 models are expected to stick with Qualcomm modems. The switch to an Apple modem could begin with a future iPhone SE and iPhone 17 models, if previously reported development challenges can be overcome.

It's unclear if an Apple-designed 5G modem would have any consumer benefits over Qualcomm modems, but it would reduce Apple's reliance on Qualcomm on the supplier side. In 2017, Apple sued Qualcomm over alleged anticompetitive practices and $1 billion in unpaid royalty rebates. The two companies settled the lawsuit in 2019.

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Top Rated Comments

ersan191 Avatar
12 months ago
I'll let you guys beta test that one, let me know how it goes.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
12 months ago
If anyone needed a real reason to upgrade their iPhone, buying one BEFORE they switch away from Qualcomm in 2025 would be the biggest one in my book.

The Intel modems were a hot mess ?.

Hopefully, Apple will prove us wrong BUT I wouldn't take that chance until the new modems are proven to be reliable over a period of time.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deconstruct60 Avatar
12 months ago

Hopefully it means better reception
Probably not. Qualcomm's newest modest has AI enhanced abilities to squeeze more out of the RF spectrum.


Apple hasn't even caught the non-AI enhanced model. Let alone 2 more years for Qualcomm to do more traning to get even better.

The rumbling as to why Apple was to target the iPhone SE4 first was that it was going to skip 5G mmWave band as a feature ( as the current one also does . Apple could get more kinks worked out of 'sub6' 5G before moving on broader spectrum issues. ).

and battery life for the future iPhones.
Wouldn't bet the farm on that either if Qualcomm shifts to a discrete modem that using 2D-3D packaging to cut down on the inter-chip transmission power overhead. ( and it is starting to make less sense to put a modem and the CPU/GPU compute logic on the same die because the fab processes for different usages are going in different directions now. )

More likely best probable outcome for Apple is to get to a modem that is basically a 'tie' ( +/- %3 on most metrics) with Qualcomm. And Apple does the 'eat my own dog food' tie-breaker. (basically just going to avoid Qualcomm's mark-up on prices. ). Apple's supposed mantra is that they will only replace external stuff when they can do a better job. It is much harder to catch folks who aren't slowing down.

Qualcomm isn't being a slouch on the modem front. Every year Apple doesn't catch them there is just more ground to make up. This isn't fumbling , bumbling Intel they are trying to catch. ( the Infineon (where the Intel division Apple picked up) got 'left behind' by Qualcomm too over a decade ago. )
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleFanBoyForever Avatar
12 months ago
Glad it won’t be coming until after the 16. I plan on holding on to my 12PM until then. Qualcomm modems are tried and true.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
12 months ago
It sure will NOT be put into a flagship iPhone in 2025…
Updated SE would be a good pipe cleaner
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
12 months ago
Analyst sets date long out in the future, and can claim it changed.

I passed the analyst test.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)