Rumor | iPhones will switch to Apple-made 5G modems as early as 2023
The widely-acknowledged market analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reportedly issued a new research note indicating that Apple may have started, or is about to start, to make its own next-gen modems. This 5G-specific counterpart of the M1 chipset is apparently intended for iPhones that might launch as early as 2023.
Currently, the latest iPhones - even the new 12 series - access their 5G networks via external modems connected to their Axx Bionic processors, in the way most Android phones did prior to 2021. Apple is thus dependent on a supply of these modems from a third party - Qualcomm, in this case - for this slightly old-fashioned way of enabling next-gen mobile data.
Furthermore, the iPhones 12 are stuck with the slightly outdated Snapdragon X55 modem, whereas the prospect of an X65 for the 13 series is a mere rumor at this stage. Therefore, it makes sense for Apple to at least aspire to first-party 5G modems for the iPhones '15' (or newer).
Conversely, the idea is a potential catastrophe for Qualcomm, a company that may already be losing the battle for 5G market dominance to MediaTek. Losing Apple as a customer could be the final nail in that coffin - then again, this risk might be managed by an increasingly strong range of mid- to low-end 5G-enabled Snapdragon processors.