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Apple is rumored to be developing its own 5G chip for future iPhones, but Qualcomm is predicted to remain the supplier of modems for all iPhone 15 and iPhone 16 models, suggesting that Apple's chip will not debut until at least 2025.

iphone-12-5g.jpg

In a research note on Friday, Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu said he expects iPhone models released in 2024 to use Qualcomm's as-yet-unannounced Snapdragon X75 modem. Like the Snapdragon X70, the X75 is expected to be manufactured based on TSMC's 4nm process, contributing to power efficiency improvements.

In June, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that Qualcomm would remain the exclusive supplier of 5G modems for new iPhone models in 2023 given that Apple failed to complete development of its own replacement chip. At the time, Kuo said he believed that Apple would continue to develop its own 5G chip, but he did not provide a timeframe for when the chip would be ready for use in iPhones.

All four iPhone 15 models are expected to be equipped with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon X70 modem, announced in February. Like the Snapdragon X65 modem in iPhone 14 models, the X70 theoretically supports up to 10 Gbps download speeds, with newly added artificial intelligence capabilities for faster average speeds, improved coverage, better signal quality, lower latency, and up to 60% improved power efficiency.

All in all, while initial reports claimed that Apple's own 5G modem could debut in iPhones as early as 2023, the switchover might take at least a few years longer.

Article Link: Qualcomm Predicted to Remain 5G Modem Supplier for iPhone 15 and iPhone 16
 
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CarAnalogy

macrumors 68000
Jun 9, 2021
1,577
2,782
Part of the problem is Apple on-boarded 1,000+ second rate Intel engineers

Not clear what Apple thought they were getting with that deal

I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when they finally saw what they actually purchased for all that money.

It seems at this point like it actually set them back more than if they had just done it from scratch themselves.
 

Red Oak

macrumors 6502
Jun 14, 2011
411
2,252
I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces when they finally saw what they actually purchased for all that money.

It seems at this point like it actually set them back more than if they had just done it from scratch themselves.
Hopefully at this point they've purged ALL the weak talent, slimmed down the team dramatically, and hired more top talent in the industry

At the end of the day, it will be significantly financially beneficial bringing the modem in house. But it has to at a minimum meet all of Qualcomm's most important benchmarks
 

citysnaps

macrumors G4
Oct 10, 2011
10,218
22,042
I think Tim Cook may look back on buying Intel’s modem business as one of his single greatest mistakes.

Indeed.

I suspect he and others at Apple didn't understand and fully appreciate/respect Qualcomm and its founders (Andrew Viterbi and Irwin Jacobs) immense depth in communications theory/technology and signal processing, going back decades, and how fractions of dBs count in cellular telecom modem performance. And then there's Qualcomm's immense patent portfolio to be aware of and cautious navigating.

Intel didn't have a chance.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,156
11,728
Indonesia
Making cellular modem is not easy, and I bet Apple is finding it the hard way. They probably thought they could simply buy intel's model business, tinker with it a bit, and release it (just like Apple did with many things, iTunes, Siri, etc, they bought those things). But cellular modem is not that simple.
 

CarAnalogy

macrumors 68000
Jun 9, 2021
1,577
2,782
Hopefully at this point they've purged ALL the weak talent, slimmed down the team dramatically, and hired more top talent in the industry

At the end of the day, it will be significantly financially beneficial bringing the modem in house. But it has to at a minimum meet all of Qualcomm's most important benchmarks

Well sure it would be a huge financial benefit to have a good modem made in-house.

But between what seems to be an inferior design, and what you say are inferior engineers, maybe at this point several years later they would have been better off to just avoid all of that by starting from scratch themselves.

Not sure how much it matters to us as users. Either Apple buys a good modem from Qualcomm and passes along the cost to us, or Apple saves money by using their own modem and keeps the profits rather than passing along the savings.

Considering the 14 was clearly a big experimental year, I’m surprised they didn’t try it with this one. I had no idea it was harder to make a usable cellular modem than it was to make an advanced CPU. I guess CPUs are better understood and less patent encumbered.
 
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ilikewhey

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2014
3,079
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nyc upper east
Well sure it would be a huge financial benefit to have a good modem made in-house.

But between what seems to be an inferior design, and what you say are inferior engineers, maybe at this point several years later they would have been better off to just avoid all of that by starting from scratch themselves.

Not sure how much it matters to us as users. Either Apple buys a good modem from Qualcomm and passes along the cost to us, or Apple saves money by using their own modem and keeps the profits rather than passing along the savings.

Considering their record with new hardware lately, just buy it from Qualcomm I say.
lol apple will never pass the savings down to the customer, that is not the way.
 

Stuey3D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
789
900
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
I’m glad that this is the case as all my Intel modem iPhones regularly needed airplane mode toggled on and off to get data to work again after moving about different areas of town even in areas with decent mobile signal, my iPhone 12 I’ve not had to do this half as much.

What is baffling though is on the WiFi side of things Intel WiFi cards in laptops are generally the best of the bunch with Realtek/MediaTek/Killer being the ones with lots of issues. I had to switch the WiFi card in my Lenovo Legion 5 from the MediaTek it came with to an Intel one as when I live streamed I dropped frames all the time with the MediaTek one but the Intel has been flawless.
It’s weird that Intel has such good WiFi chips but their cellular modems are hot garbage by comparison.
 

no_idea

macrumors 6502
Sep 20, 2018
299
896
Rinse and repeat…I’ve seen this article like clock work for last 3 years…ever since apple acquired intels modem division
 
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MrENGLISH

macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2009
376
1,155
The Intel modems were so bad. Even with Apple taking ownership of the Intel Modem line, I will personally wait to see how they preform before making a purchase.

If the rumors turn out to be true that the iPhone 15 will be the first iPhone with USB-C and the last with a QC modem, then it might end up being the iPhone I hold onto for a long, long time.
 

Benjamin Nabulsi

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2020
427
903
The Intel modems were so bad. Even with Apple taking ownership of the Intel Modem line, I will personally wait to see how they preform before making a purchase.

If the rumors turn out to be true that the iPhone 15 will be the first iPhone with USB-C and the last with a QC modem, then it might end up being the iPhone I hold onto for a long, long time.
I agree with you but both intel and QC are too good for the reality of our networks, unless you hug the pole.
 

munpip214

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2011
684
1,797
Intel's engineers were competing with a company whose founders pretty much wrote the book with respect to modern digital communications.

I'm not faulting Intel engineers. It just wasn't a fair fight to begin with.
And with the margins Apple was looking to get, Intel would have had to pay Apple to take them. There wasn’t high enough volume and Intel’s cost was too high. Besides the design and fabrication there would have been all the costs for regulatory lobbying and patent fees to everyone, much more than on regular chips. I think it was more of a $$ decision than anything else.
 
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