Apple is looking to drop Qualcomm as its iPhone modem chips supplier as soon as 2024, says a new report from Bloomberg. Apple has been working on its own in-house modem chip solution for several years.
Apple’s development of its own 5G modem, which reportedly kicked off in early 2020, has been widely reported.
The Cupertino firm in July 2019 purchased the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. The transaction was valued at $1 billion Apple said at the time that the purchase will “help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”
Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in June 2022 said that Apple’s 5G modem chip development “may have failed.” Kuo said Qualcomm would remain Apple’s 5G modem provider for the 2023 iPhone lineup.
Bloomberg‘s report agrees with Kuo. The report says Apple’s modem chip development has seen delays, and Apple will do a slow rollout, using its own modem chip in a single device before expanding the rollout to other devices. The transition away from Qualcomm could take as long as three years.
Apple is not only looking to transition its modem needs away from Qualcomm, it also wants to bring its WiFi and Bluetooth chip needs in-house. It currently sources those chips from Broadcom. That deal will expire midway through 2023.
Bloomberg says Apple is also working on a chip that will combine the cellular modem, WiFi, and Bluetooth functions into a single component.