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 represent only 20% of modem shipments from 2023, which signals the arrival of this new component for iPhones.
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 4 nm engraving and it would be accompanied by RF components associates, previously also provided by Qualcomm.
Apple would also be working on its own PMIC (energy consumption management circuit) for the future modem. It is therefore a question here of the development of a complete solution which will no longer require the use of components from Qualcomm, which is nevertheless a specialist.
All of this smacks of a desire to reduce dependence on the San Diego company’s products. We remember that the two companies fought Homeric battles over the management of license rights between 2017 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 Apple’s 5G modem will be mass-produced. The sources of Nikkei Asia confirm a potential launch in 2023, leaving time to validate the component and have it certified by operators around the world.
2023 will also be the year of the transition to 3 nm engraving for the iPhone SoC, which indirectly confirms that the 2022 iPhone 14 has a good chance of moving to 4nm as a 5nm optimization.