It sounds like iPhones are going to continue to require modems from third-party suppliers for the foreseeable future. A report out of Asia claims that Apple is scrapping efforts to build an in-house 5G modem.
That's according to the operator of a news aggregator account, Yeux1122 on on the Naever blog. Apparently, supply chain sources are claiming that Apple is putting an end to its modem development. Leaker @Tech_Reve posted on X that they've heard similar reports from other soruces in Japan.
That's hardly the most substantiated of claims, but it's no secret that Apple's modem development efforts which began around 2018 have yet to bear fruit. Earlier this year, Qualcomm announced it would supply iPhone modems through 2026, suggesting that an Apple-built modem was far from being ready.
Another report from earlier this year — this one from Bloomberg's Marc Gurman — reported other problems with modem development at Apple. The company had to deal with issues arising from the software code acquired in Apple's purchase of Intel's modem business. Apple reportedly rushed to include new features, which often caused others to break and required complete rewrites. And there was also the matter of developing modems without infringing on any of Qualcomm's patents, which slowed down production.
Apple had aimed to develop its own modem to give the company even more control over the parts used to make its iPhones. Because of when Qualcomm introduces updated modems, Apple misses out on the latest technology, as that year's iPhones are already well along in the production process. That means Apple is genearally using a modem that's a generation behind the one inside the latest Galaxy S flagship from Samsung. For example, earlier this year, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon X75 modem, but the iPhone 15 models are using the X70.
Originally, Apple's modem chip was slated for a launch this year, with plans to make it part of the upcoming iPhone SE 4. While the iPhone SE 4 has other rumored features going for it — the phone is supposed to adapt a new design similar to the iPhone 14 — a new type of modem apparently won't be among the new features.
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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.