Apple’s awesome chip team is now designing iPhone modems

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Apple A4 chip
Johny Srouji’s team is in charge of modem development.
Photo: Apple

Apple has shifted to in-house modem chip engineering led by senior vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji, according to a new report.

The move all but confirms that Apple will develop its own cellular chips for future iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models after years of sourcing them from Intel and Qualcomm.

All of the modem chips used in Apple devices were supplied by Qualcomm not too long ago, but over the past few years, the company has transitioned to using only Intel modems.

Now, Apple is likely to drop third-party cellular chips altogether in favor of its own, designed in-house by the same team that develops its impressive A-series chipsets.

Apple tasks Johny Srouji with modem design

Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the move, reports that Srouji took over Apple’s modem design efforts in January. However, it could “take years” for the modems to appear in Apple devices.

Rubén Caballero, who reports to Dan Riccio, the executive responsible for hardware engineering, was previously in charge of sourcing modem chips from Apple’s supply chain.

It’s thought third-party chips, which cost between $15 to $20 apiece, have been costing Apple around $3 billion to $4 billion a year for the 200 million iPhones it manufactures.

Apple’s modem design efforts

It’s not the first time that we’ve heard about Apple’s plans to develop its own modems.

Its legal battles with Qualcomm over chip royalties has led to Apple using only Intel modems in the latest iPhone lineup, and they are considered to be slower and less advanced than Qualcomm’s.

It makes sense, then — given Apple’s incredible ability to design stellar mobile chipsets — for the company to develop its own for the future.