Apple’s Quest to Replace Qualcomm Modem in iPhone Faces Further Delays

Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Apple’s ambitious plan to develop its own modem chip for iPhones has encountered yet another setback, pushing the target release date further into the future. The company’s initial goal of having an in-house modem ready by 2024 has been scrapped, and recent reports suggest that the project is now unlikely to yield a commercially viable product until at least late 2025 or early 2026.

Key Highlights:

  • Apple’s efforts to design and manufacture its own iPhone modem chip are facing significant technical challenges.
  • The complexity of modem technology and the need for stringent performance and reliability standards have slowed down the development process.
  • Apple’s extended contract with Qualcomm,┬áthe current supplier of iPhone modems,┬áprovides some breathing room for the company to address these challenges.
  • The delay in developing an in-house modem could impact Apple’s ability to control key aspects of its iPhone technology and potentially affect future product innovation.

Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Technical Hurdles and Complexity

The development of modem chips is a highly complex undertaking, requiring expertise in radio frequency (RF) engineering, power management, and signal processing. Qualcomm, the industry leader in modem technology, has spent decades refining its designs and accumulating valuable intellectual property in this area. Apple, while possessing considerable technical expertise, is relatively new to the field of modem development and is facing a steep learning curve.

Performance and Reliability Standards

Modem chips play a critical role in ensuring seamless connectivity and data transmission for smartphones. They must meet stringent performance and reliability standards to ensure flawless operation across various network conditions and environments. Achieving these standards is particularly challenging, as modems must operate within tight power budgets and handle diverse wireless technologies, including 5G and LTE.

Extended Qualcomm Contract

Apple recently extended its contract with Qualcomm to supply iPhone modems through 2025. This extension provides some breathing room for Apple to continue working on its in-house modem project without facing immediate supply chain disruptions. However, the delay in achieving commercialization raises questions about the long-term viability of Apple’s modem ambitions.

Impact on Apple’s Control and Innovation

Apple’s desire to develop its own modem chip stems from a strategic goal of greater control over key components in its iPhones. By designing and manufacturing its own modems, Apple could potentially optimize performance, integrate more tightly with other iPhone components, and reduce reliance on external suppliers. However, the delay in this endeavor could potentially hinder Apple’s ability to innovate and differentiate its products in the future.

Apple’s efforts to develop an in-house modem chip for iPhones have encountered significant technical challenges, forcing the company to postpone its initial target release date. The complexity of modem technology, the need for stringent performance and reliability standards, and the extended contract with Qualcomm have all contributed to the delay. While Apple remains committed to its modem development project, the long-term viability and impact on its product strategy remain uncertain.


About the author


Joshua Bartholomew

A casual guy with no definite plans for the day, he enjoys life to the fullest. A tech geek and coder, he also likes to hack apart hardware. He has a big passion for Linux, open source, gaming and blogging. He believes that the world is an awesome place and we're here to enjoy it! He's currently the youngest member of the team. You can contact him at