Production of Apple’s 5G modem reportedly begins in 2023

Apple reportedly plans to begin production of an in-house cellular chip in 2023. In cooperation with the manufacturing partner TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing), which already supplies Apple’s A-Chips and M-Chips, Apple then wants to build its own 5G modem in the 4-nanometer process – in mass production, like the Japanese business newspaper Nikkei reported with reference to informed persons.

Apple’s ambitions go beyond the pure baseband processor and also include its own radio components, including support for 5G in the millimeter wave range. It is also planned to integrate the modem into its own system-on-chip (SoC), explained Nikkei.

The development of a high-performance cellular modem that can be used in as many regions as possible is considered to be extremely complex, especially if older cellular standards are to be supported in parallel. Apple’s modem partner Intel failed several years ago to bring its own 5G modem to market quickly enough.

Apple was therefore obviously forced to settle a bitter patent dispute with the chip manufacturer Qualcomm and to close a long-term deal. At the same time, in the spring of 2019, Apple took over Intel’s cellular modem division with over 2000 employees and a portfolio of around 17,000 patents covering central protocols for cellular standards, modem architectures and the functionality of baseband processors.


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More from Mac & i


More from Mac & i

More from Mac & i

Almost a year ago, Apple’s hardware technology boss confirmed at an internal event that the development of an in-house cellular modem had begun. A separate iPhone modem enables another “decisive strategic transition”, and the investment will also pay off through “technical innovations”. At the same time, Apple can reduce its dependence on Qualcomm, the license agreement that has been concluded runs until 2025. Qualcomm has already publicly prepared for the loss of the Apple business: In 2023, only around 20 percent of Apple’s baseband chips will be supplied, Qualcomm’s chief financial officer recently explained on an investor day.


(lbe)

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