Apple announced the acquisition of Intel’s 5G modem business yesterday just months after the latter shut its 5G division owing to the settlement between Apple and Qualcomm. Now, from the looks of it, Apple is planning to manufacture its own 5G modem and ship them to some of its devices by 2021.
Following yesterday’s acquisition, Apple is now reportedly looking to develop an in-house 5G modem for its devices in 2021. A source close the matter told Reuters that while Apple will be using Qualcomm’s technology for a 5G-enabled iPhone next year, the Cupertino company is willing to internally develop a 5G modem for some of its products before the end of 2021.
As for the upcoming set of iPhones, Apple will still be relying on a 4G modem from Intel, meaning the 2019 iPhones will not be enabled with 5G cellular technology. Next year, however, Apple will be implying Qualcomm’s 5G modem technology to bring the latest cellular capability to its 2020 iPhones.
The report further entails that Apple plans to switch away from Qualcomm in phases. This could indicate that while an in-house 5G modem could be developed in 2021, it’s likely that the chipset won’t be employed on an iPhone right away. This is because Apple’s licence deal with Qualcomm binds them to the semiconductor company for at least six years, which was previously pointed out to why Apple won’t develop in-house 5G modem before 2025.
Instead, Apple could be using its own 5G modem on an iPad to explore its potential. We can also expect the Cupertino-made chip to be phased in for older iPhone units and lower-end iPhones, if by then Apple decides to venture into the budget game.