Apple Extends Modem Licensing Deal With Qualcomm Through March 2027

Apple has extended its modem chip licensing agreement with Qualcomm through March 2027, Qualcomm said today during its first earnings call of 2024. Apple's existing agreement has now been extended for two years, so we can expect to see Qualcomm modems in the next several iPhone generations.

5G Modem Feature Blue
Apple has been working on developing its own 5G modem chip in-house for the last several years. The technology would keep it from having to rely on Qualcomm for 5G chips, but Apple's progress has seen several delays.

In November 2023, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that Apple's work on a modem chip had been postponed until late 2025 or 2026, and it is possible it could see further delays. Apple was initially aiming to have an Apple-designed modem chip ready to go by 2024, but it missed that target. The company then wanted to introduce the modem chip in an iPhone SE that would launch in spring 2025, but it will not be able to make that goal either.

Gurman said at the time that Apple was "years away" from creating a chip that is able to perform as well or better than chips from Qualcomm.

Apple has reportedly run into issues with the Intel code that it has been using from its acquisition of Intel's modem chip business. Apple has had to rewrite code, and adding new features has caused existing features to break. Apple also has to avoid infringing on Qualcomm's patents during its modem development.

The upcoming iPhone 16 Pro models set to be released in 2024 are rumored to be using Qualcomm's Snapdragon X75 modem with improved carrier aggregation, and a more power efficient transceiver.

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Top Rated Comments

7thson Avatar
20 weeks ago
The elusive Apple modem. Which will we see first? The modem or the car?
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wouwout Avatar
20 weeks ago
had an Intel modem in my 11 pro max and suffered from bad reception. Looking forward to many more years of Qualcomm's modems
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
20 weeks ago
Imagine being on the Apple modem team. How do you show your face in the cafeteria at Apple Park?

Apple started this effort maybe in 2016 or 2017. They groom Intel and fight with Qualcomm. Then Tim Cook pays Qualcomm $4.5B as a mea culpa. Apple buys Intel 5G technologies for $1B. It's five years later and the team has nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile the guys at Huawei develop a 5G modem, integrate it into the SoC, and even add two way satellite voice and message capability. All using homegrown 7nm. Meanwhile, Apple has full TSMC access down to N3.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
20 weeks ago
this comes to: no surprise ...
Qualcomm has the best modems and until Apple can do better, we'll have Qualcomm modems in Apple flagship iPhones
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_apple_apple_ Avatar
20 weeks ago

See, we can all work together to produce a superior product, no need to internalize the entire manufacturing process. Apple doesn't make their batteries or their screens either.:rolleyes:
I've got news for you... Apple is indeed making their own displays and batteries. The displays have been in development for many years and are microLED iirc (not mini); rumoured to possibly debut in the Apple Watch X this/next year. For the battery, it's unclear how long Apple's been working on that.

I think the only way around the modem patents is if Apple uses a fundamentally different tech, like optical computing hardware. QC seems to think their patent coverage is air-tight.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mcled53 Avatar
20 weeks ago
I'm beginning to think the entire purpose of Apple's G5 modem "program" is to encourage Qualcomm to make a deal that keeps their modem in the iPhone. As far as we know the Apple 5G department plays air hockey all day.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)