Apple Accepts Failure in Custom 5G Modem Development Project: Report

It’s no secret that Apple wants to gain better control over its devices by including custom components. However, it seems that the technical pinnacle has hit a snag towards its goal. It has been reported that Apple is finally abandoning plans to develop custom 5G modems after failing to do so for some time.

a report by “yeux1122” in Naver’s blogciting supply chain sources, says Apple plans to halt the development efforts and investments it has put into developing an in-house 5G modem so far, which is expected to appear in the upcoming iPhone SE 4 to put. This ends the possibility that we will ever see an Apple-made 5G modem in iPhones.

Last week Mark Gurman from Bloomberg named that Apple will miss the 2025 deadline to replace Qualcomm chips with its own 5G modems as the project has been postponed again.

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Apple’s relentless efforts for a custom 5G modem

Apple accepts failure in custom 5G modem development project: report

Apple has been working on cracking the 5G modem code since 2019. It even bought Intel’s modem business for as much as $1 billion in 2019 to avoid having to do a complete overhaul. Internally codenamed “Sinope,” the project was expected to come to fruition in 2023 and Apple was expected to launch the iPhone SE 4 with the custom 5G modem in 2024.

Modem chips involve complex circuitry and coding. While you can argue that Apple has beaten Intel at its own game by developing custom M-series chips for Macs, 5G modems are a whole different story. Qualcomm perfected the technology after decades of research and development efforts.

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Even after raking in billions of dollars, Apple has apparently failed to develop its own modem. It is believed that the main reason behind Apple’s inability to match Qualcomm’s modem technology is the code for the modem borrowed by Intel. Apple engineers reportedly failed to integrate modern features into the code, leading to an early prototype that was believed to be years behind what Qualcomm currently offers in its modems.

Moreover, Apple is also known for approaching development with caution to avoid infringing on Qualcomm patents. Apple is walking a tightrope after suing Qualcomm in 2017 for collecting unwarranted royalties on modem chips.

Apple cashes in on its ‘Chips’

Apple’s failure is Qualcomm’s treasure. While Apple and Qualcomm recently signed an extension of the agreement to offer 5G modems until 2026, the deal was made in the belief that Apple would succeed in developing the in-house modem. With the recent report, it looks like Qualcomm will come out on top and we could see a long-term partnership between the two tech companies.

On Apple’s part, it would be a Herculean task to accept this failure, not to mention the billions of dollars the company has invested over the years in developing an internal modem. Previously, Apple had to abandon its plans for AirPower, its wireless charging mat, after failing to find a similar solution to overheating.