Apple might make its own ultra-fast iPhone 5G modems

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iPhone 5G
Rather than going with another company, Apple might make its own iPhone 5G modems.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A job post shows Apple is hiring an engineer to lead a team designing 5G modems.  This may be mean that the company is going to stop outsourcing these wireless chips.

Apple currently sources its LTE modems from Qualcomm, but there have been reports that it’s working with Intel on next-generation modems. Maybe the iPhone maker decided to kick Intel to the curb too.

The posting says the person Apple is looking for “will be at the center of a silicon design group.” Clearly, a leadership position.

The job description never specifically says the person will be crafting iPhone 5G modems, but the technologies mentioned make it clear. It says “As a millimeter-wave IC design engineer, you will be responsible for providing circuit and system solutions for multi-gigabit wireless chips.”

One version of 5G cellular wireless networking happens over millimeter wave frequencies. This is between 30 gigahertz and 300 gigahertz, a band of the spectrum between microwave and infrared waves that’s not currently being used for networking.

And, of course, the promise of 5G is that data will transfer at gigabits per second, as opposed to the megabits per second speeds offered by 4G.

The job posting makes it clear that these chips will be used in future iPhones. The person hired will bring “functional products to hundreds of millions of customers.” No other Apple product has such reach.

Apple or Intel iPhone 5G modems?

It’s possible the job posting is for someone to work with Intel to develop iPhone 5G modems, rather than Apple going it alone. If that’s the case, though, why was the job posting removed as soon as it started getting attention from the media? It’s still on other sites that mirror Apple’s job postings though, including Glassdoor.

If Apple really did decide to pass on working with Intel on 5G modems, it’s supposedly not the only way Apple is dissing Intel. The company is reportedly going to stop using Intel processors in Mac desktops and laptops in favor of using its own designs.