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Apr 12, 2001
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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.jpg

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.

Article Link: Apple Extends Modem Licensing Deal With Qualcomm Through March 2027
 

Mac mini power user

macrumors member
Mar 17, 2021
58
126
Leuven, Belgium
Given Apple's troubles with this, I wonder if it would not have been better to do everything in-house, rather than start from Intel's failed efforts. What seemed like a good basis now appears to be driving delays. Of course, creating a modem while avoiding infringing on a competitor's patents is one of the hardest technology development challenges in the business, so I can see this agreement being extended further.
 

Octavius8

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2016
864
1,262
Apple has ideas but pooooor implementation Capabilities. Most things are done by a 3rd party, if done by Apple they are a mess. Just look at IOS, buggy with broken basic features (bluetooth is broken for older devices/chips, dial pad is jurassic, etc.).
 

JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,730
23,753
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.
 

_apple_apple_

macrumors member
Dec 11, 2021
68
119
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.
 

steve09090

macrumors 68020
Aug 12, 2008
2,191
4,197
Yikes.

Perhaps this is poor management on Apple’s part, but it is concerning that even a company with Apple’s resources is struggling to build a competitive 5G modem. It’s important for this to be a competitive market.
It’s probably less about management, rather than Qualcomm have wrapped up the intellectual property on modems pretty well. There is no value on Apple spending billions on trying to develop new technologies and not be guaranteed it would be as good.
 

cdsapplefan

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2023
233
295
It’s probably less about management, rather than Qualcomm have wrapped up the intellectual property on modems pretty well. There is no value on Apple spending billions on trying to develop new technologies and not be guaranteed it would be as good.
Yeah this is all about the Patents that Qualcomm owns. This is why Apple is also struggling with the Apple Watch ⌚️ patents that they had to remove a popular main oxygen sensor
 

CarAnalogy

macrumors 601
Jun 9, 2021
4,301
7,904
Apple also has to avoid infringing on Qualcomm's patents during its modem development.

This is almost certainly the entire issue. This is why Qualcomm gloats in press releases. It’s probably impossible.

So, is this the patent system working as intended? Genuinely asking.

On one hand it seems Apple has to invent something entirely new to avoid their patents.

On the other hand, they have to adhere to standards and physics is fairly consistent, so that may not be possible, and Qualcomm is the only company that can ever make this technology in a useful way.

I really don’t know the answer.
 

cdsapplefan

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2023
233
295
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.
Could be you never know what’s behind the door and Apple is supposedly a very secret company. Apple could be trying to make a deal with Qualcomm like they made a deal with Google to have them as there main only default search engine in all iPhones. Qualcomm may bite if they don’t then Apple will just say bye ✌️
 
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