As had been expected, Apple is moving forward with its plans to develop and build its own cellular modems for use in its iPhone, iPad, and other devices. The move will eventually decrease the Cupertino firm’s reliance on production partners, like current modem vendor Qualcomm.
That news came on Thursday, during an Apple virtual town hall meeting where SVP of hardware and technologies Johny Srouji informed employees of the development.
“This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem which will enable another key strategic transition,” Srouji said, according to Bloomberg. “Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future.”
Apple currently relies on Qualcomm for all of its modem needs, including the 5G modem found in their current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple used Intel cellular hardware from 2016 to 2018, but the chipmaker couldn’t deliver its 5G hardware in time for the 2020 iPhone release.
A 2019 report claimed Apple had set an “aggressive” goal of including in-house 5G modems as part of a system-on-a-chip design for iPhones and iPads as early as 2022.
Apple acquired the majority of Intel’s smartphones modem business in July 2019. Basing their own 5G modem development on the technology from Intel should help accelerate their modem development.
Srouji also said on Thursday that Apple is working on a “family” of Mac chips. Apple is rumored to be planning to build a series of advanced desktop chips to complement the M1, including a 32-core variant that may debut in a revamped Mac Pro model in 2022.