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2023 iPhones to feature custom integrated 5G modems as Qualcomm reveals its iPhone modem orders will slip to just a 20 percent share

The iPhone 13 series features a 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G modem. (Image: Qualcomm)
The iPhone 13 series features a 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G modem. (Image: Qualcomm)
Qualcomm has indirectly confirmed that Apple will switch to in-house custom 5G modems for most of its iPhones in 2023. The company revealed at its Investor Day that its 2023 supply of modems for Apple devices will slide to just 20 percent.

Apple has a penchant for custom silicon as we are well aware and its next endeavor will be the introduction of its first in-house 5G modems. We didn’t have a clear time frame on when Apple would introduce these into its iPhones until Qualcomm’s Investor Day which was held earlier today. The company’s CFO Akash Palkhiwala indirectly revealed that Apple’s first in-house 5G modems will appear in iPhones in 2023 with Qualcomm’s share of Apple’s business slipping to just 20 percent.

Apple has been developing custom silicon for its iPhones for many years now. It only started incorporating Apple Silicon into its MacBooks late last year, as it began to replace Intel as its primary silicon supplier. Now it is looking to replace Qualcomm as its principal supplier of 5G modems following its acquisition of Intel’s 5G modem business. However, Qualcomm owns a number of 5G-related patents and the two companies struck a deal with Apple agreeing to a six-year licensing agreement (following a litigious period between the two companies), meaning that Qualcomm will still receive royalties from each Apple modem installed in an iPhone.

The current iPhone 13 series utilize Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 modems, however, unlike the X60 modems which are integrated into the Snapdragon 888, they are separate to the A15 SoC. This means slightly higher power consumption as a result, but something which Apple has been able to offset with its particularly efficient SoCs like the A15. A custom Apple modem will likely be integrated into what would be the Apple A17 SoC in 2023. This would help to ensure even better battery life for iPhones fitted with the new SoC along with the other benefits that come with a fully integrated package including improved thermals.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 11 > 2023 iPhones to feature custom integrated 5G modems as Qualcomm reveals its iPhone modem orders will slip to just a 20 percent share
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2021-11-17 (Update: 2021-11-17)