Apple is in the process of replacing Qualcomm modems with its own modems | GeekComparison

A blue iPhone 12 lying flat on a table

As rumored many months ago, Apple’s silicon ambitions don’t end with replacing Intel CPUs with their own in Macs – it plans to ditch Qualcomm modems in favor of its own custom-designed chips for iPhones, according to Johny Srouji, Apple’s head of hardware technology.

Srouji confirmed the company’s plans when he spoke to employees at an internal town hall meeting, as reported by Bloomberg today. Apple acquired Intel’s 5G smartphone modem business last summer. That acquisition of Intel’s intellectual property and resources was key to Apple’s new endeavors.

Quoted in the Bloomberg story, Srouji told Apple employees:

This year we began development of our first in-house cellular modem, which will enable another major strategic transition… This type of long-term strategic investment is a critical component in enabling our products and ensuring we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future.

Apple first introduced 5G modems in the iPhone 12 range this year, but the phones use modems from Qualcomm. When Apple completes its work on its own modems, it will likely drop Qualcomm’s modems from most or all of its phones. Qualcomm shares fell in value after the Bloomberg report ran.

However, the report notes that “a 2019 patent agreement between Apple and Qualcomm includes a six-year licensing pact” and that “Qualcomm charges phone makers licensing fees based on wireless patents it holds, whether or not they use its chips.” . .”

If anything, this news confirms suspicions long harbored by close Apple observers. As if the acquisition of the Intel modem business wasn’t a clue enough, in 2018 Apple was also visibly and publicly expanding its workforce in a San Diego office, close to Qualcomm’s offices there. As we noted when discussing Apple’s hiring wave two years ago, the San Diego office seems pretty much designed to poach skilled engineers from Qualcomm and the smaller San Diego-based companies into its orbit to work on modern technologies.

In 2019, Apple confirmed plans to open a second major campus in San Diego. In addition, Apple has been listing numerous opportunities related to modems on its job portal for a few years now. Today’s report says Apple has people working on the new modems in San Diego, Cupertino and Europe.

It’s not known when Apple might add these new modems to its phones, but we can easily speculate what its priorities might be. Our iPhone 12 review (and the reviews in other publications) pointed out that the new iPhones have a dramatic impact on battery life when browsing in 5G. That Apple hopes it can produce more efficient alternatives that are more closely integrated with the other technologies in its phones is one potential focus.

Leave a Comment