Apple is falling further behind in creating an in-house modem for iPhones. After multiple delays, the company targeted a 2025 spring timeline to ship its first modem. But that’s not going to happen.
A new report signals that Apple has delayed the modem’s launch until the end of 2025 or early 2026.
Apple is struggling to make its 5G iPhone modem
The Bloomberg report citing internal sources sheds light on Apple’s effort to create its 5G modem. It reveals that the baseband is still in early development and could lag behind the competition by years. At least one modem in development does not support the faster mmWave 5G technology.
Apple acquired Intel’s 5G business in 2019 to get a headstart on its efforts. But that seems to have backfired, as the company has encountered issues with Intel’s code. Rewriting or fixing these issues is causing other features to break.
“Why we thought we could take a failed project from Intel and somehow succeed is a mystery,” an Apple employee told Gurman. Developing the 5G modem has turned out to be a frustrating journey for Apple and its employees. Previous reports indicated that the company’s efforts to make iPhone 5G modems are bombing, with billions of dollars already invested into it.
Apple intends to use its in-house modem on the iPhone SE first. However, given the delay, it is unclear if the baseband will be ready in time for the rumored launch of the iPhone SE in 2025.
Apple’s contract to use Qualcomm modem expires in 2026
Apple recently renewed its agreement with Qualcomm, enabling it to use the latter’s 5G modem in its devices until 2026. The deal was set to expire at the end of this year. The deal allows Qualcomm to collect licensing fees from Apple for using its cellular patents. That’s on top of the money it makes for supplying its 5G modem.
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