According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to replace the Qualcomm modem chips it currently uses in iPhones as early as 2024. Apple has been developing its own modem chip technology for a number of years. They are making a huge effort to reduce its reliance on this mobile chip giant from the same state.
Tim Cook and Co. had originally hoped to introduce their own chips by 2023. But, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated in late 2022 that Apple would have to continue to rely on Qualcomm for the foreseeable future. This is because Apple’s own development efforts haven’t bore fruit.
The Bloomberg report concurs with this, stating that modem chip development has experienced delays. It states that Apple will use a slow rollout in order to eventually phase out Qualcomm. The transition is expected to take up to three years. Apple may start by using its own modem chip in a single device before expanding to others.
Apple’s big plan to make wireless components In-House too
In addition to transitioning to its own chips starting in 2024, Apple also plans to stop using wireless components from Broadcom by 2025. The company is developing its own WiFi and Bluetooth chip to replace the components it currently sources from Broadcom. Apple signed a three and a half year deal with Broadcom for wireless components and modules in 2020, which is set to expire in mid-2023.
Bloomberg also reports that Apple is working on a chip that will combine cellular modem, WiFi, and Bluetooth functions into a single component. Broadcom supplies Apple with radio-frequency chips and chips for wireless charging. They are also seeking to replace these two chips as well.
Apple Qualcomm 2017 legal battle the Impetus?
Apple has made it a priority to design its own A-series chips for the iPhone and M-series chips for the Mac, and replacing modem chips and wireless components has been a focus since the company’s dispute with Qualcomm. In 2017, Apple launched a legal battle against the San Diego based chip giant, alleging that the company was unfairly collecting royalties for technologies it had no involvement in.
Intel’s Modem business acquisition could not save Apple from Qualcomm in 2019
Cupertino wanted to transition away from Qualcomm for 5G in order to avoid paying them the high premiums. But Intel was unable to manufacture 5G chips that met Apple’s standards. As a result, Apple was forced to settle its lawsuit with this Android’s favourite chip-maker. So, since then Apple used Qualcomm’s 5G modem chips for its iPhone and iPad lineups.
In 2019, Apple purchased Intel’s modem chip business in an effort to advance its own chip development. But it appears that 2024 may be the earliest the technology will be advanced enough for Apple to phase out Qualcomm.