In the words of Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company’s work on developing a unique 5G modem for the iPhone 15 may have already “failed”.
For more than a year, Apple was supposed to be working on a unique 5G modem to debut in all iPhone 15 models in 2023, drawing inspiration from its work on Apple silicon. Apple is rumored to have started the process of switching away from Qualcomm in 2019 by acquiring Intel’s modem chip division.
There were rumors that Apple was working on a 5G modem distinct from its A-series chip, which some speculated was going to be called the “A17,” for its 2023 iPhone models. Apple’s 5G baseband modem is expected to come from TSMC, the Taiwanese company that presently supplies all of Apple’s bespoke silicon SoCs.
Currently, Kuo argues that Apple’s efforts “may have failed,” with the chip’s development being alleged to have stalled behind closed doors. As a result, it now appears that Qualcomm will continue to supply all of the iPhones’ 5G chips in 2023, rather than only 20% as previously anticipated.
Although why Apple won’t have its modem ready for the iPhone lineup of 2023 is unclear, it has been a long-term goal for the business. Because Intel could not provide 5G chips that satisfied Apple’s specifications after a lengthy legal struggle with Qualcomm, Apple had planned to use Intel 5G chips in its 2020 iPhones. It was in 2019 that Apple reached a settlement with Qualcomm, and since then, Qualcomm 5G modems have been used in the iPhone and iPad lines.
According to Kuo, Apple will keep working on its own 5G technology, but it will likely take longer for the work to be finished to a suitable quality for future use in iPhones and other devices. An ultra-wide-angle camera with a periscope lens and USB-C connectivity are two additional features expected in the iPhone 15 series.