When Apple bought the scraps of Intel’s modem business in 2019, it was just a matter of time before it started selling phones without Qualcomm modems. A new report indicates that this time is fast approaching.
Japan-based Nikkei Asia reports that Apple has tapped TSMC to build the new modem, which will use 4-nanometer chip production technology. The current modem in the iPhone 13, Qualcomm’s X60, is built on a 5nm process. The report says production for new modem will begin in 2023.
According to the report, Apple is creating the modem from scratch with its own radio frequency components and millimeter wave components, as well as a custom power management chips. However, it’s possible that the first version of the modem might not be integrated into a processor. DigiTimes reported last week that Apple’s first 5G modem would be separate from the A17 and Nikkei Asia seemingly confirms that by saying the 2023 modem would “pave the way” to integrate the modem with the processor, suggesting that the first model will be separate.
Apple’s first integrated module would be the 5G modem. The X60 modem is integrated in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor on high-end Android phones, but Apple uses it separately from the A15 processor in the iPhone 13. A integrated modem will provide space-saving and power efficiency benefits.
Apple signed a “multiyear chipset supply agreement” when it settled its lawsuit with Qualcomm in 2019, which is primarily the 5G modem in the iPhone and iPad. However, Qualcomm announced at its earnings that it will only supply 20 percent of iPhone modems by 2023, suggesting that Apple is indeed on track to deliver its own model by then.
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Since the iPod was called the iWalk, Michael Simon has covered Apple. His obsession with technology dates back to his first computer, the IBM Thinkpad with lift-up keyboard that allowed him to swap out the drive. He still waits for it to return in style.
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