Apple is planning on building its own modems for iPhones. The company is planning on stepping away from Qualcomm and Intel built modems to manufacture cellular modems itself. A person confirmed that the company is indeed working on building its own cellular modem chip. This story was first reported by The Information.
Apple‘s recent job openings for two Cellular Modem Systems Architects in San Diego and Cupertino just added fuel to the fire. The company has posted multiple jobs related to hardware and firmware engineering in the past couple of months for its Berlin, San Diego, and Beijing offices.
The company might be looking to step away from Qualcomm because of the poor relationship between the two tech giants. Apple and Qualcomm’s ties took a rough turn because of several lawsuits filed against each other.
Apple then cut off its ties with Qualcomm and preferred using Intel’s chipset in all three of the iPhones released this year. Qualcomm retaliated by trying to ban iPhone from being sold in both China and US.
These are iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. So why not just use Intel’s modems instead of Qualcomm’s? After all, Apple is using Intel’s chipset.
According to a report, Intel’s modems are much slower compared to Qualcomm’s. Ookla’s speed test showed 40 percent faster download speeds and 20 percent faster uploads for Qualcomm modems compared to modems made by Intel.
Apple did not want to take any risks, so it opted instead to build its modems.
The Cupertino based company has been using wireless parts for its hardware for some time now. Apple uses its own Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips into the latest Apple Watches and AirPod earbuds. Don’t forget that Apple has a good history of manufacturing its own chips.
It has developed A-series processors used in iPhones from 2007. Its A12 processors are the ones being used in the current generation of iPhones.
The A12 chip is believed to be among the fastest in the mobile market currently. Apple is also said to be working on its own ARM-based System on a Chip (SoC). These SoCs will be used in Macs in 2020.
The Information notes that Apple is far from completing the project. So it is unrealistic to think the still in the early modem will be seen in an iPhone anytime soon. Apple is also looking to launch its first 5G enabled iPhone in 2020.
The phone is rumored to work on Intel’s internal 5G infrastructure.
Apple made the right call of stepping away from other chip manufacturers to produce its hardware. In the age of lawsuits, it is very easy to inevitably step into some legal drama. Huawei and Samsung follow the same strategy by building their own chipsets.
The idea is to make a more cohesive and complete product where hardware and software are in harmony with each other. This move seems to have paid off since Samsung and Huawei users rarely complain about their phones not having Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.
We will have to wait a few years before Apple comes out with its cellular modem. Our fingers are crossed.