Apple to ditch Qualcomm with 2023 iPhone; use in-house 5G modem: Kuo

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Apple has committed to using Qualcomm modems inside new products until 2022. An extension to that contract might be possible, but a reliable analyst doesn’t think the Cupertino giant will need one.

The iPhone 15 might be the first with a custom Apple 5G modem

In a recent note to investors (via MacRumors), analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that he expects Apple to use its in-house Apple Silicon 5G modem with the 2023 iPhone 15 series at the earliest.The timeline matches up perfectly with the one provided by two Barclays analysts in March and follows several years of development, which received a boost in 2019 when Apple acquired most of Intel’s smartphone modem business.

At the moment it’s unclear which benefits Apple’s custom 5G modem will bring to the table. But if the company’s other chips are anything to go by, customers can expect both improved performance and better power efficiency.

The move will impact Qualcomm hard, claims Ming-Chi Kuo. The American chipset manufacturer may need to enter completely new markets to compensate for the loss of Apple’s business. Qualcomm might also be forced to compete with MediaTek for additional orders in the low-end and mid-range Android smartphone segment. 

Fortunately, Apple’s move towards custom chipsets won’t happen overnight. Even if the brand releases the 2023 iPhone 15 line with an in-house chipset, previous-gen models like the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 that are still in production will continue to use Qualcomm’s modems.



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