Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the journey of the Apple-designed chip will continue as the company works to develop its own modem chip, and we could see it as early as 2023. A new report today echoes this, but seems more confident about the date of 2023.
Apple currently uses Qualcomm for its modem chips, but has been unhappy with it for many years …
Apple has always made its own A-series CPU and GPU combo chipsets for iPhones and iPads, and recently started doing the same for Macs through the M1 and its variants.
However, the company relies on a range of third-party chips for other functionality, including modem chips for cellular iPhones and iPads. These chips provide mobile data, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and are manufactured by Qualcomm.
Apple has had a long-standing dispute with Qualcomm, accusing the chipmaker of “double dipping” by charging once for its modem chips and another time licensing fees for the patents the chips are based on. He was also unhappy that Qualcomm priced this license based on a percentage of the iPhone’s retail price.
A long-standing and acrimonious legal battle between the two companies was finally settled when Apple had no choice but to continue buying radio chips from Qualcomm. However, this dispute likely led the Cupertino-based company to ramp up its efforts to design its own modem chip.
In 2019, Apple acquired the smartphone modems business from Intel as part of this work.
The journey of Apple-designed chips will continue
Earlier this year, Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that we might see the first Apple-designed modem chip by 2023, but he was unsure of the timeline given the multi-year timeline involved in what is a very complex task.
Three factors contribute to this complexity. First, a radio chip must meet a long list of different standards for mobile data (from 2G), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, supporting both the latest and all older versions. Second, power management is extremely difficult, as radio transmissions are very demanding on battery life. Finally, Apple must avoid infringing Qualcomm’s numerous patents in this area.
A Nikkei Asia report Echo’s Kuo expectations today and suggest that 2023 is Apple’s target date.
Apple is forging a closer partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in hopes of reducing its dependence on Qualcomm, Nikkei Asia has learned, with plans to have the Taiwanese chip titan manufacture iPhone 5G modems. from 2023.
Apple plans to adopt TSMC’s 4-nanometer chip production technology to mass-produce its first internal 5G modem chip, four people familiar with the matter said, adding that the iPhone maker is developing its own radio-frequency and radio-frequency components. millimeter waves to complete the modem. . Apple is also working on its own power management chip specifically for the modem, two people briefed on the matter said. […]
For the new iPhone 5G modem, sources said, Apple is using TSMC’s 5nm chip production to design and test the production of the chip. It will then use even more advanced 4nm technology for mass production, the sources added. Commercialization will not come until 2023, people familiar with the matter said, in part because of the time it takes for global operators to verify and test the new modem chips.
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