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Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors.

Apple-5G-Modem-Feature-16x9.jpg

According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023 iPhones "at the earliest." Apple currently relies on Qualcomm for its 5G iPhone modems and is expected to continue its reliance until it diverts to its own chip. When the diversion occurs, Qualcomm will be forced to enter new markets to compensate for the loss of orders from Apple.
We predict that the iPhone will adopt Apple's own design 5G baseband chips in 2023 at the earliest. As Android sales in the high-end 5G phone market are sluggish, Qualcomm will be forced to compete for more orders in the low-end market to compensate for Apple's order loss. When the supply constraints improve, MediaTek and Qualcomm will have less bargaining power over brands, resulting in significantly higher competitive pressure in the mid-to low- end market.
In March, Barclays analysts reported that Apple will include its own custom-designed 5G modem starting with the 2023 iPhone. Apple's development of its own modem, which reportedly began in early 2020, has been widely reported.

Apple-designed modems can be expected to offer faster speeds, improved latency, among other benefits compared to Qualcomm or Intel modems, which powered earlier generation iPhones.

In 2019, Apple purchased the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business, a move that helped fuel the development of Apple's own in-house modem. Apple said at the time that the purchase will "help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward."

Article Link: Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023
 
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GeoStructural

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No they aren’t. They bought intel’s modem business, including most of the employees.

And Intel modems were not really that great.

I am glad that they are moving this way, I just hope it doesn’t come at the expense of lower quality telecom for the user. Apple will certainly save money, but I doubt we will see any difference on our part.
 
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cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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And Intel modems were not really that great.

See prior response. This isn’t intel. It’s Apple combined with Intel’s experience.


ANyway, looking forward to coming back to this thread in a couple of years. Posters will look as dumb as the folks who said Apple could never design great iphone processors out of the gate, or the folks just a year ago who insisted that Apple‘s Arm CPUs would suck for macs.
 
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GeoStructural

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Oct 8, 2016
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See prior response. This isn’t intel. It’s Apple combined with Intel’s experience.

I do have Apple’s R&D in better regard than Intel, but again I just hope that whatever they put out is at least comparable to Qualcomm, they have been doing it for a while and have shown impressive data speeds at vehicles moving >100 mph, they have also shown almost seamless remote control at great distances with little latency.

Can Apple come up with a good chip? Yes, they have proven it before, however this is a new development for them. Time will tell.
 
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LogicalApex

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Nov 13, 2015
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Yeah, keep dreaming. Qualcomm has been making modems a long time. Apple is just starting.
Apple made a deal with Qualcomm to end their court battle and put their chips into iPhones as a interim step toward their own modems. This is well known as the future. That deal includes some licensing by Qualcomm for Apple building their own modems.

So, Apple will have the following going into this:

Apple Chip Engineering Expertise + Intel Modem Division Expertise + Qualcomm 5G patent portfolio.

I am sure Intel modem business didn't fail purely due to incompetence otherwise Apple wouldn't have purchased it. It likely was due to patents they couldn't impede on that Qualcomm had in its portfolio.

I'd expect Apple's Modem to end up very competitive.
 
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StevieD100

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Jan 18, 2014
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5G is another patent minefield with a plethora of NPE's just waiting to strike at Apple (again). I really do hope that they (apple) has the licenses all sewn up otherwise I predict that Apple alone will keep the usual jurisdictions solvent for another decade or so.
 
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GeoStructural

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Apple is going to eventually "build" everything themselves.

I wonder if screens are next (no more Samsung).

I doubt it, screens are a more complicated matter, especially with all the improvements to OLED and the advent of microLED. Chinese and Korean manufacturers lead the world in display technology and that is not likely to change any time soon. When Apple abandoned the idea of producing a TV one of the reasons was display technology and the inability to put out something differentiable in a very competitive market with well established players. I don’t think Apple can ditch these providers for years to come.
 
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Nozuka

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I doubt it, screens are a more complicated matter, especially with all the improvements to OLED and the advent of microLED. Chinese and Korean manufacturers lead the world in display technology and that is not likely to change any time soon. When Apple abandoned the idea of producing a TV one of the reasons was display technology and the inability to put out something differentiable in a very competitive market with well established players. I don’t think Apple can ditch these providers for years to come.

Apple did buy the microLED company "LuxVue Technology" a long time ago though. Who knows if anything ever comes from that...
 
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mfram

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Jan 23, 2010
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Yeah, keep dreaming. Intel has been making CPUs for a long time. Apple is just starting.

Lol, you see where this is going, right?

Sure. The Apple A4 came out in 2010. So finally 11 years later they are moving on without Intel CPUs on low-end Macs. The modems are just as complicated but in different ways than a general purpose CPU. There’s a jump start with Intel modems. But they had relatively poor low-signal performance, poor data transfer performance and less stability.

Apple can catch up. But its going to take a while.
 
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macduke

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Remember: There was 10 years between the A4 and the M1. That being said, I’m hopeful that we’ll see big improvements sooner rather than later. The biggest problem with modems is the restrictive patents around nearly every aspect.
 
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mfram

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Jan 23, 2010
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I've been waiting for cellular-enabled Macs for 20+ years...
Unfortunately, licensing makes this challenging. That’s a big reason this hasn’t happened. The licensing cost is a percentage of the unit cost. So putting a modem in a more expensive box is a bigger cost. Which is why it’s less likely to happen. It still might in time.
 
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