Apple pushing to have its own 5G modem by 2022
The 5G modem will be integrated into the SoC
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Rumours have long suggested that Apple would release its first 5G-ready iPhone in 2020, with potentially all three models sporting the 5G chip. However, the 5G radio in these iPhones will be provided by Qualcomm. Now a new report by The Fast Company claims that Apple is working on developing a 5G modem in-house, with the goal of shipping it in devices by 2022, a rather ambitious goal for multiple reasons.
Right now, the iPhone (all models) include a System on Chip designed by Apple while the modem continues to be a separate chip on the logicboard. Ideally, having the modem be a part of the SoC would be the best case scenario when it comes to power-efficiency. Initially, Apple had plans on working with Intel to incorporate the modem right into the A-series processors, but then, things changed drastically in April 2019.
Back in 2017, Apple and Qualcomm went head-to-head in legal battles across the world due to conflict over the way Qualcomm was charging royalties. However, in an interesting turn of events, on the second day of hearings in the Federal Court of San Diego, the two companies declared that they will be dropping all lawsuits, everywhere in the world. The two companies settled and within hours, Intel issued a press release saying the company was exiting the modem business.
Apple’s ambitious timelines could be attributed to the fact that they will not be starting from scratch. After buying Intel’s modem business for $1bn, Cupertino has a significant head-start towards its goal. However, it is still going to be an uphill battle to integrate the modem in the SoC, followed by fabrication, testing and certification.
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