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JPack

macrumors G4
Mar 27, 2017
10,350
18,443
Most people who understand silicon development wouldn’t have expected an integrated modem.

Apple isn’t likely to have same annual cadence for updating the modem compared to the logic sections. With Snapdragon, Qualcomm’s focus is on selling the modem and smartphone integrators essentially get a “free” processor. Apple’s business model is selling logic transistors. The modem is secondary.
 
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jsalda

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2008
306
492
I definitely see the benefits here, again, Apple being able to control and develop every component so that it all just works together will be beneficial to the end user, however, it sure does feel more and more like we are living in 1984. Microsoft, Samsung, etc need to start looking at how they can do the same, or Apple is going to be a runaway train.
 
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Xavalon

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2017
12
7
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.
Remember, their modem chip originated from Intel as they bought the modem decision a couple of years ago. And the intel modem was used until two generations iPhone ago. the T2 included the DSP and security enclave and essential moved to the M1.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2014
7,597
9,923
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.

It was acceptable enough for Apple to use in multiple of their flagship phones, and to spend a lot of dollars buying them.

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?

Battery life. Quickly adjusting the radio so that it consumes less power when not needed, and powers back up as required.
 

huge_apple_fangirl

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2019
704
1,147
Interesting that it won’t be integrated… I think doing so might have had battery improvements so I wonder why not. Maybe the next gen will be. Launching with the A17 fits with Qualcomm’s timeline of 2023 though, so that fit.
 

thawk9455

macrumors member
May 2, 2013
60
85
Never was the case when they used their own Apple/Intel modem in all phones till iPhone 11.
Except it was.

iPhone X used Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 for CDMA networks, another model also used the X16 for Japan, and the Intel XMM 7480 was used for GSM networks.

iPhone 7 used Intel XMM7360 for GSM only phones and Qualcomm MDM9645M for the GSM/CDMA phones. This was the first year Intel modems were used in an iPhone.

iPhone 6 and 6s used Qualcomm modems as well, that's as far back as I looked.
 

solipsism

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2008
514
319
lol wut?

Apple bought PA Semi in 2009. The Intel beating CPUs came out in 2021. Duration: 12 years.

Apple bought Intel's modem business in 2019. It's only been 2 years...
lol wut?

Apple has been building—and releasing— Intel beating CPUs for many years. They've released iPhones and iPads that have been trouncing Intel chips used for the most popular laptops for a long time. And that's without even looking at performance per watt which puts them better than Intel from the get go.

Suggesting that none of that counts until a laptop can beat a $50k maxed out Intel-based Mac Pro that needs 10x the power to compete is not a reasonable line in the sand.

As for Apple's foray into the cellular market, it's even more odd that you start the clock when they buy Intel's IP, but the $4.5B purchase of Nortel's in 2011 or any of the other work they've done in that field, which are easily noted by patent filings.
 
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Ceed

Suspended
Nov 6, 2021
89
76
Yeah, Apple doesn't need garbage processor tech from IBM or Intel, they've got talent like Johny Srouji, who came from... uh... never mind that part
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2014
7,597
9,923
lol wut?

Apple has been building—and releasing— Intel beating CPUs for many years. They've released iPhones and iPads that have been trouncing Intel chips used for the most popular laptops for a long time. And that's without even looking at performance per watt which puts them better than Intel from the get go.

Suggesting that none of that counts until a laptop can beat a $50k maxed out Intel-based Mac Pro that needs 10x the power to compete is not a reasonable line in the sand.

The original assertion was "it took apple less time to build intel-beating CPUs than in took to build damn cellular modem. curious as to why", which is presumably based on faulty information. Apple's CPU effort started around 2008, and they started calling them "desktop-class" with the A9 in 2015, so about 7 years.

As for Apple's foray into the cellular market, it's even more odd that you start the clock when they buy Intel's IP, but the $4.5B purchase of Nortel's in 2011 or any of the other work they've done in that field, which are easily noted by patent filings.

By that logic, their foray into CPUs started with their co-founding of ARM in 1990.
 

thebeans

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2009
530
625


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
They should have partnered with / purchased / licensed modems from Motorola. They are simply superior in terms of getting a decent signal in weak areas. My workgroup has one dude that always got a Motorola phone each year. He has always had superior reception deep inside buildings and such.
 

Glideslope

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2007
7,401
4,755
The Adirondacks.

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
6,084
10,010
San Jose, CA
Most people who understand silicon development wouldn’t have expected an integrated modem.
Actually I'm surprised if their modem isn't integrated (assuming the rumor is true). Qualcomm achieves significant power savings by the integration in their Snapdragon SoCs. Perhaps Apple just isn't there yet.
 
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haunebu

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2004
193
709
California
Oh, just great. The Intel modem team, which couldn't even make a working 5G modem several years after Qualcomm did, is back at Apple... all because Tim wants to save a few bucks. We'll get inferior connectivity (again) and Tim will make more money.

What are the odds they intentionally gimp the Qualcomm modem again so it doesn't outperform the Intel (Er, Apple) version - like they did in the iPhone X?
 

DailySlow

macrumors 6502a
Aug 5, 2015
530
220
Northern Virginia
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?
Scroll up a bit to jadedmonkey’s post and that’s just an overview of modem requirements
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,192
3,813
It was acceptable enough for Apple to use in multiple of their flagship phones, and to spend a lot of dollars buying them.
Apple hasn't ever used any 5G modems from Intel, have they? Like I said, the LTE portion is known to work but 5G is what got Apple to decide to settle with Qualcomm. Apparently it was still years away.
 
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jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,192
3,813
Actually I'm surprised if their modem isn't integrated (assuming the rumor is true). Qualcomm achieves significant power savings by the integration in their Snapdragon SoCs. Perhaps Apple just isn't there yet.
Apple is pretty conservative. They aren't likely to integrate the 5G modem until they have worked out all the kinks. And they probably have already reached the limits of what SoC real estate they can support for 5 nm, 4nm and 3nm without the modem. They'll integrate the modem when it makes economic and business sense.
 

anthover

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2010
161
26
Ship has sailed on non native IP less modem for almost any modem maker. Patent system guarantees that IP will need to be lic. The goal is to make one own either on SOC of CPU/GPU etc or separate but at least be in control of not only its capabilities but its power use which is lower of course if on SOC.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G4
Mar 10, 2009
11,165
2,972
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.

Makes sense to keep it separated also because analog and digital need different foundry solution optimizations. The Android market is almost completely integrated modems in part to reduce costs as much as space ( or power ) savings. Apple sells relatively expensive phones. They don't necessarily need reduced costs while sacrificing some CPU and/or GPU performance.

Integrating the modem isn't "free"; there are trade-off costs.

If Apple wanted to go to an even thinner iPhone then perhaps that would tip the scales to integrated ( and cutting the logic board assembly height from a double layer sandwich to a single layered one ). But not sure making the iPhone thinner buys much outside of a dogma of "just because we can".

There is no big "shared Unified Memory" upside with having the modem crave out space in a singular LPDDR space used by the SoC. The data bandwidth between modem and SoC is manageable without huge power losses.


The Apple Watch might be a corner case where space and power is an even higher premium. However, also probably doesn't need as powerful of a modem either. ( limited antennas is only going to receive so much bandwidth).
 
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