The Cupertino company will add a string to its electronic bow with the design of its own 5G modem . Qualcomm, its current supplier, expects to only represent 14% of modem shipments from 2023, which signals the arrival of this new component for iPhone.
According to Nikkei Asia , it is once again to the Taiwanese founder TSMC that the firm will rely for production. The first generation of Apple 5G modem should go through a 4 nm engraving and it would be accompanied by associated RF components , until then also provided by Qualcomm.
Apple would also work on its own PMIC (energy consumption management circuit) for the future modem. This is therefore the development of a complete solution which will no longer require the use of components from Qualcomm, which is nevertheless a specialist.
All this smacks of the desire to reduce dependence on products from San Diego business. We remember that the two companies fought Homeric battles over the management of license rights between 500 and 2019.
But it is also a good opportunity for Apple to develop carefully calibrated solutions for its products, as it is already doing with its Apple Ax SoCs for iPhone and iPad, a strategy extended to Macs with Apple Silicon .
The test chips would be engraved in 5 nm but it is with a 4 nm engraving that the 5G modem will be mass-produced from Apple. Nikkei Asia sources confirm a potential launch in 2023, leaving time to validate the component and have it certified by operators around the world.
2022 will also be the year of the transition to 3 nm engraving for the iPhone SoC, which indirectly confirms that the iPhone 13 of 2022 has a good chance of moving to 4nm as an optimization to 5nm.