Apple is in preliminary talks with new suppliers to provide its first in-house 5G modem chips for its iPhones, says a new report from DigiTimes.
The report says Apple is negotiating with ASE Technology, which owns Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL). The Cupertino firm is looking for someone to package its first in-house designed 5G modem chips.
ASE and SPIL have both been Qualcomm’s partners for packaging 5G modem chips for iPhones, including its latest Snapdragon X65 5G modem-RF system.
Apple is expected to ship at least 200 million new iPhones in 2023, and will rely on multiple partners to handle backend processing of its in-house 5G modem chips and RF transceiver ICs, based on its regular supply chain management policy for its devices, the report’s sources added.
Apple already has at least one manufacturing partner to make a portion of the 5G modem chips, as its main chip manufacturing partner TSMC will produce the lion’s share of the new in-house 5G modem chips.
TSMC is currently running trial production of Apple’s in-house modem designs, which currently uses TSMC’s 5-nanometer process, and will shift to a more advanced 4-nm process for mass production of the modems.
All of the above will aid Apple to move away from Qualcomm as its main cellular connectivity provider. Apple acquired Intel’s modem business in 2019.