iPhone could ship with Apple’s own 5G modems in 2023


Tim Cook seems really excited about 5G. Should you be?
Qualcomm will eventually get the boot.
Photo: Apple

Apple is expected to start shipping its own 5G modems for iPhone in 2023. The chips will reduce the company’s reliance on Qualcomm — which is currently a major supplier of cellular chips for Apple devices.

Sources say the modems won’t be integrated into Apple’s primary A-series chipsets for iPhone, but will instead be separate components.

Apple will start ditching Qualcomm modems soon

Qualcomm this week unveiled plans to start competing with Apple’s new custom ARM processors in the coming years. It also warned investors that it expects Apple’s modem orders to significantly decrease in 2023.

The reason for that, according to sources for Digitimes, is that Apple plans to start introducing its own modem chips for iPhone — designed entirely from scratch, just like its A-series chipsets — in two years’ time.

It’s likely Apple’s own modems will be exclusive to brand-new iPhone and iPad flagships initially, with Qualcomm components still used in older models until they are eventually phased out.

Apple modems could be separate chips

One interesting tidbit from the report, according to the sources, is that Apple plans to make its 5G modems entirely separate from its primary chipsets — unlike some other manufacturers, who integrate them into one.

This could be due to the variety of different A- and M-series chipsets it offers for a wide range of iPhone and iPad models.

We’ve been waiting for Apple to introduce its own 5G modems for a little while now. Back in late 2019, Cupertino acquired Intel’s phone modem business for what is likely to turn out to be a bargain $1 billion.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.