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Apple may start using in-house 5G modem chips on iPhone from next year – India Today

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Apple started offering 5G on iPhones in 2020. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 are both 5G enabled, but unlike their processor, which is made by Apple, their 5G modem comes from Qualcomm. Apple is in the process of phasing out third-party suppliers for iPhone components and its next step may be using in-house 5G modems. A new report has said that the iPhone next year may ditch the Qualcomm 5G modem in favour of Apple’s self-developed 5G modem.
For Apple, developing a 5G chip is not going to be a lot more difficult, but it certainly involves a more complex process than that of a phone processor. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple is making a “series of moves” that hint that it may soon start designing modems for the iPhone. Apple’s suppliers are reportedly also working with the company towards that goal, per the report.
These modem chips will be created not just for the iPhones but also for Apple’s future devices, such as the rumoured augmented reality wearable. With the help of a 5G modem, the wearable will be able to communicate with the internet independently. Similarly, Mac laptops with 5G connectivity will make them internet-ready and allow faster downloads and streaming, just like the latest iPhone models. The possibilities are endless for Apple once it is done working on its 5G chip, but it will not be that easy.
Apple previously sourced its modems from Intel, but to minimise its dependency on what has been the world’s biggest PC chipset maker, it switched to the chipsets made by Qualcomm, the world’s dominant modem-chip maker. But now, Apple will need to show its rivals that not only can it design the wireless modems but it can also do it well — enough to justify switching. Until Apple has finessed its modems and ensured they meet the company’s high requirements, it will not release them into the market. This is a time-taking process, which is the estimated time for the modems is next year.
With 5G modems, Apple will also be able to offer a seamless experience on its augmented reality headsets. Reports suggest Apple’s first augmented reality headset will see the light of day sometime later this year, but their full-scale sales will not happen before next year. Augmented reality, which involves superimposing computer-generated graphics, or reality, atop the real world and projecting it into the eyes with the help of glasses, requires faster data transfer speeds and minimal latency for wireless connection — something 5G is designed to do.
Apple has not confirmed anything, but Qualcomm, which supplies the company with 5G modems currently, recently hinted that the iPhone maker may be planning to launch its own modems from next year. Last year, Qualcomm’s CEO said that the company expects to supply 20 per cent of 5G modems for Apple’s iPhone from 2023. Currently, the supply stands at 100 per cent. You do the math. The reduction in supply clearly does not indicate that Apple will lower the production of new iPhones or that it will discontinue 5G iPhones. An upbeat take — the most logical one — would be that Apple will begin using self-developed 5G modems from next year.
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