Apple’s self-developed 5G baseband has been postponed to 2026

Previously, there were reports that Apple had initially planned to launch the fourth-generation iPhone SE in 2024, which would have been the first product to feature Apple’s own 5G modem. However, due to delays, the launch of this new smartphone has been postponed, and it is now expected to enter mass production only in 2025. Rumors suggest that Apple’s in-house 5G modem, codenamed “Sinope,” has been plagued with slow speeds and a tendency to overheat. With Qualcomm confirming the extension of their agreement with Apple for another three years, to continue providing baseband chips for the iPhone until 2026, it is evident that Apple has encountered significant challenges.

LGA Reference Designs

According to Bloomberg, the latest update indicates that Apple’s self-developed 5G baseband may have encountered further setbacks, facing additional obstacles and now delayed until late 2025 or early 2026. Originally, Apple’s renewal of the agreement with Qualcomm was meant to provide breathing space for the continued development of their custom design. However, these efforts appear to be in vain, with frequent issues of overheating and performance falling below expected standards.

Apple might need several more years to develop a solution that matches the current offerings of Qualcomm. The present design does not support the faster mmWave technology, and there are rumors that Apple has also encountered issues when using code provided by Intel. Rewriting the code seems necessary, but adding new features has reportedly led to program crashes and interruptions. Moreover, Apple must navigate Qualcomm’s patent landscape carefully to avoid infringement during the development phase. While Apple has been highly successful with its M series of self-developed chips, it appears to be facing notable weaknesses in the development of its own 5G baseband.

Despite these numerous challenges, Apple remains passionately committed to the development of its in-house 5G baseband. The main reason for this is the high cost of procuring solutions from Qualcomm.