Apple could be working on its own 5G modem for the iPhone 15

The iPhone 14 could miss another upcoming Apple innovation as the company prepares to build its own 5G modems for iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.

Supposedly on track for a 2023 launch (the year of the iPhone 15), Apple has been working on designing proprietary modems (the component that processes your cellular signal) for several years already, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

Those moves include Apple buying most of Intel’s smartphone modem division in 2019, including a team of 2,200 employees that apparently continues to hire more staff. It also reportedly hired staff to work on cellular modem chips in San Diego (headquarters of modem and chip maker Qualcomm) and a satellite office in Irvine, Calif., which is near tech company Broadcom. in components that interface between modems and antennas.

Qualcomm itself has predicted that its share of iPhone/iPad modems will drop from nearly 100% share in 2021 to 20% by 2023. Although you could interpret that as Apple preparing to switch to another vendor of Modems, considering this along with the hiring and acquisition news above, everything points to Apple making proprietary modems.

The advantage of making its own products would be a possible price drop, at least for Apple’s component bills, as well as the ability to design the modems to work perfectly with Apple devices. This could mean that Apple is able to miniaturize the technology needed to give new devices internet connectivity, like the future AirPods or the rumored Apple Glasses.

Apple wanting to build its own modems and actually doing so are two different things. Apple is no stranger to making its own silicon of course, it has already designed its own A-series smartphone chips, S-series smartwatch chips, and most recently the Apple M1 series tablet/laptop chips. They are all processors, so making your own modems would require a lot of new knowledge, as well as a lot of testing.

It would take some time for such plans to materialize, as evidenced by the fact that the earliest evidence we have of Apple’s plans is from three years ago. But perhaps four years after this alleged switch to its own modems, Apple will be ready to arm the iPhone 15 with a modem of its own design. Whether that’s good enough to match existing Qualcomm modems widely used by rival smartphones and existing iPhones is another matter.

The iPhone 14 is expected to debut in September based on Apple’s iPhone 13 launch schedule, as well as previous iPhone launches. It will bring a few changes like a new notch design and improved cameras for the Pro models, and a non-Pro Max version to replace the current mini model.

Until the iPhone 15 you’ll supposedly get Apple’s first own-brand modem as we mentioned, but it also looks like it’s getting a more powerful periscope telephoto lens and possibly under-display Face ID .

About Franklin Cheatham

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