Apple is Making Its Own 5G Modem

March 08, 2021

After several years of clashes, Apple is rumored to be creating its own 5G modem and reportedly plans to cease using Qualcomm chips in the future. Johny Srouji, senior vice president of hardware technologies at Apple, announced the company’s new modem in a town hall with Apple employees in December 2020. In 2019, Apple bought Intel’s modem business, paving the way for the tech giant to begin producing more of its own hardware. A cellular modem is an essential part of a smartphone, allowing it to make phone calls and to connect to the internet through cell phone networks.

The iPhone 12, Apple’s newest model, uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 modem. However, before the iPhone 12 was released last year, the company announced it would be using its own antenna instead of using Qualcomm’s QTM 525 millimeter-wave option. The relationship between the two companies has been tense for several years, due to clashes related to Qualcomm’s payment policy, which requires payment up front for components in addition to royalties. Qualcomm has accused Apple of not honoring their payment terms and refusing to pay royalties Qualcomm is owed.

Despite the new rumors, ramping up production on the new modems may take some time. In addition, a settlement between Apple and Qualcomm in 2019 included an agreement for 6 more years of licensing for Qualcomm’s chips.