Today Apple buys all the 5G modems of its devices from Qualcomm, but from 2023 it will be free to choose: continue to buy them or make them in house?
Apple becomes more and more independent. In fact, in the near future of the company sprout the first 5G modems dedicated to iPhone and iPad completely produced by Cupertino. This is, of course, a first prediction but, according to experts, it could become reality already starting from the devices that will see the light in 2023.
Once again, the news about the evolutions by the bitten apple comes from a report made by the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In the document analyzed by the web site MacRumors, the expert of the Apple world would have underlined as the Cupertino colossus would have by now reached an evolution of such level to be able to allow the home production of its own modem dedicated to the 5G connectivity. This, therefore, would in fact add a further piece to that represented by the M1 processor, born in the arms of the company led by Tim Cook and arrived, according to the well-informed, to the production phase of its second version.
Apple's 5G modem, what will change?
As specified by Kuo in his report dedicated to investors, Apple could decide to install in its devices the modems made at home already in the models on sale in 2023. This, therefore, would mean saying goodbye to the elements produced by Qualcomm that, so far, have found a place inside the devices equipped with 5G connectivity.
The choice to rely on its own modems could mark a clear turning point for Cupertino. In fact, 5G modems designed specifically for Apple's devices could guarantee faster speeds, as well as improved latency compared to what we've seen through the integration of Qualcomm or Intel counterparts already present on last generation iPhones. All this especially if Apple will decide to integrate the modem directly into the architecture of its chips (M1 or later).
On the dates, however, the expert expressed all his caution. In fact, the timing could also be more dilated than in 2023. In any case, the will to abandon Qualcomm's product is there and it appears quite evident. In fact, the project would have already started at the beginning of last year and also reported by Barclays analysts, confirming a future more and more based on a production autonomy by Apple.
Qualcomm, the future after Apple's farewell?
If Kuo foresees that Apple will continue to use Qualcomm modems at least until 2023, the reason is there and it is well known to anyone who knows technology. In 2019, Apple and Qualcomm closed with a settlement a court dispute that saw the latter accused of patent infringement on 5g modems by the former. The agreement stipulated, among other things, that Apple would only use Qualcomm modems for at least four years.
Since 2023, therefore, Apple will be free to choose whether to continue to buy modems from Qualcomm or make them at home with technology bought from Intel: the same Apple, in fact, also in 2019 bought for $ 1 billion the modem and 5G division of the Santa Clara giant. Hard to think, then, that Apple has decided to suspend the development of this technology for four years, despite the agreement with Qualcomm. More likely, instead, that in 2023 Apple (finally free from legal constraints) will return to the charge with its own proprietary modem.
Obviously, this would represent a significant blow for Qualcomm that, with a blow, would see canceled the request of its components by one of the largest manufacturers of smartphones and tablets globally. The company, therefore, may have to revise its marketing strategies to penetrate the market slice dedicated to lower-end devices, the last ones not to have introduced in a massive way the use of 5G connectivity.