Qualcomm was earlier reported to be Apple’s exclusive 5G modem supplier for the iPhone 15 series launching in 2023. With an in-house modem expected to debut several years from now, the San Diego chip maker will likely cover all of iPhone 16’s 5G modem shipments, according to the latest report. When it comes to TSMC and Qualcomm, Apple will have little choice but to agree to their terms.
Apple’s in-House 5G Modem Will Not Be Ready Until 2025, According to Analyst, iPhone 16 to Use Unannounced Qualcomm Chips in 2024
Qualcomm’s latest and greatest 5G modem to date is the Snapdragon X70, and it will likely be found in upcoming flagships. The company will reportedly be preparing its successor, the Snapdragon X75, in the near future, for a list of clients, including Apple, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu.
MacRumors states that just like the Snapdragon X70, the Snapdragon X75 will be mass-produced on TSMC’s 4nm architecture, meaning it will be highly power efficient, will deliver maximum throughput, and possibly take up less space when found inside all iPhone 16 models.
Unfortunately, it will be costly to produce since it is reported to be made on TSMC’s 4nm architecture, meaning either Apple will have to pass those increases to customers or absorb the component costs, which will eat into the company’s profit margins.
Apple has been rumored to develop its in-house 5G modem for many years. This move will allow Apple to reduce its dependency on Qualcomm while also giving the technology giant greater control over the component, allowing it to integrate the baseband chip on a deeper software level, resulting in additional optimizations such as battery conservation and maximum performance.
Sadly, developing this chip is not the same as mass producing an A-series or M-series SoC, which is why Apple has to rely on Qualcomm’s expertise for a couple more years. Pu argues that Apple’s 5G modem will not be ready until 2025, and even when it does debut, it is not like the company will completely terminate its business relationship with Qualcomm.
It should take a few more years after the launch of the in-house solution before Apple becomes completely self-sufficient in producing this component in massive quantities, so until then, Qualcomm will keep banking on this partnership.