Apple’s own iPhone 5G modem chip development may have failed

As early as 2019, Apple spent $1 billion to buy Intel’s smartphone baseband chip-related business. Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technology in 2020, told attendees at a conference that the development program for the first in-house baseband chip has been launched, and it is believed to be the key to achieving another strategic transformation.
iPhone 14 delay

Over the past few years, Apple has used modems from Intel and Qualcomm on the one hand, while actively developing its own on the other. According to relevant industry insiders, Apple’s first 5G baseband chip will debut in the iPhone series in 2023 at the earliest, corresponding to the iPhone 15 series. At the same time, it will gradually reduce the purchase of Qualcomm’s 5G baseband, which is rumored to account for only 20% of orders by 2023.

However, the latest rumors indicate that Apple’s wishful thinking has encountered setbacks, and the development of modems seems to be more difficult than that of self-developed Arm architecture chips. The well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kua says that: “Apple’s own iPhone 5G modem chip development may have failed, so Qualcomm will remain exclusive supplier for 5G chips of 2H23 new iPhones, with a 100% supply share (vs. company’s previous estimate of 20%).”  Rumors say that Apple’s baseband chips won’t be seen until at least 2025.

Apple is expected to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 on this year’s iPhone 14 series and the Snapdragon X70 on next year’s iPhone 15 series. Apple will continue to use Qualcomm components until 2024, under a six-year agreement previously signed by the two parties. In view of the recent troubles in the development of 5G baseband chips, perhaps Apple will re-examine the agreement between the two parties.