Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Shirasaki

macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
14,109
8,791
Never was the case when they used their own Apple/Intel modem in all phones till iPhone 11.
The keyword here is never was, which could change. Wonder how it will go, like Samsung phone using Qualcomm chip in US version while Exynon outside of US.
 

nfl46

macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
7,833
7,082
Jeez, Apple is staring at the iPhone parts like, “Eventually, we will manufacture you one by one ourselves.”
 

jlc1978

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2009
4,296
2,797
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.
Exactly. It also allows adapting phones to variuis ccellular bands and easily change modem designs for new standards and not wind up with a stack of outdated all in one chips.

The challenge is likely working around Qualcomm

I would guess after buying Intel’s modem business and their own IP they can do an IBM and offer a cross licensing deal. Qualcomm is probably violating some of Apple’s patents in some way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn

jayducharme

macrumors 601
Jun 22, 2006
4,283
5,034
The thick of it
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.
I wonder if Apple would ever license those chips to other companies. It would be a completely different business model for them, but they probably could have a bit of side income competing with Qualcomm. Given their obsession with product integration though, that's probably not going to happen.
 

jtopp

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2010
117
94
Yeah I wouldn't count on it, there's never been an Apple laptop with cellular connectivity.

It's something I can't wrap my head around. They are ignoring a whole segment of industry that issue laptops to field techs & other personnel that need secure access back to the office, with everything preconfigured.
Apple designs products based on a field techs need to work in the field? I don’t remember that being a market share that was a focus of Apple design.
 

jtopp

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2010
117
94
I wonder if Apple would ever license those chips to other companies. It would be a completely different business model for them, but they probably could have a bit of side income competing with Qualcomm. Given their obsession with product integration though, that's probably not going to happen.
Nope
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn and thebeans

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,315
2,694
La Jolla, CA
I'm fairly sure macrumor's speculation is wrong, the 20% will go into the highest-end iPhones !

NOT the lowest-end iPhones !

QCOM will very-likely have a competitive performance advantage for years.

Disclaimer: EE, who has worked @ Qualcomm.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,315
2,694
La Jolla, CA
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.

NO, I don't agree with that !

They, like QCOM, are after the 5G-connected Embedded market, which is much bigger than the smartphone & tablet markets combined !

Apple does NOT have ANY A-series like chips to address the Embedded market right now !

That will take some time.

That's the reason to keep them separated for awhile.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn

Ram65

Suspended
Sep 20, 2014
431
283
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?
They survived with the intel modems they will be fine if there in-house modems doesn’t work well. Apple will sell millions still until they get it right
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2014
7,607
9,939
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?

Keep in mind Apple isn't exactly starting from scratch. They have Intel's know-how, which in turn sources Infineon's (Siemens's) know-how.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn

jlc1978

macrumors 601
Aug 14, 2009
4,296
2,797
Another advantage to separate chips is it allows Apple to build it into any device. For example, Apple could put one in ATV to make it a connected hub that doesn’t need wifi and could act as a hub for security systems, TV, as well as a wifi router. If Apple buys a cellular operator or simply becomes a virtual mobile operator they have no established the last part of the end to end link in their ecosystem. Siri becomes your controller, search engine, etc. and Apple builds a customer database to rival anyone’s.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SFjohn

johnsc3

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2018
149
167


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-16x9.jpg

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.

Article Link: Apple-Designed 5G Modem to Be Separate From A-Series Chip, Again Rumored to Debut in 2023 iPhones
If this is true, I really would not be surprised to see these cellular modems inside of Mac portables; in addition, I can see carriers being lured into selling (subsidized/ installments) those portables along side existing channels.
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,223
3,835
Keep in mind Apple isn't exactly starting from scratch. They have Intel's know-how, which in turn sources Infineon's (Siemens's) know-how.
Except Intel didn't seem to be able to make an acceptable 5G modem. So we don't know if the Intel/Infineon buy out included any worthwhile 5G IP. Certainly the LTE portion will be fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ksec and haunebu

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,977
2,665
Pennsylvania
it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why,
Because the CPU only has to work, internally, so the only thing Apple needs to worry about is whether or not it's better than Intel in metrics like speed, power usage, and physical size (otherwise it will reduce the size of other components e.g. the battery).

The modem has to meet the following, in addition to being better than what they can buy.

* Plays well with all other devices that emit radiation (think FCC part B or whatever, this device will not interfere with other devices...).
* Play well with all versions of hardware on cellphone towers.
* Play well with all versions of software on all version of hardware on cellphone towers.
* Play well with all vendors who are using all versions of software on all versions of hardware on cellphone towers.
* Had a low SAR output, and doesn't kill people via radiation.
* Needs to be more secure than a T2 chip, while running its own baseband firmware that interacts properly with all vendors who are using all versions of software on all versions of hardware on cellphone towers.
* Needs to work well no matter what orientation the antenna are facing.

And since Qualcomm isn't as incompetent as Intel, next year the goalposts will have moved again.
 

hoorayforhollywood

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2017
65
145
I know precisely nothing about cellular modems. Please educate me - if Apple nailed this as they have done their own SOCs what are we looking for in terms of everyday use improvements? Speed, presumably. But there must be more to a modem's criteria than that. What would we notice with a gold standard modem?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.