Apple certainly found designing 5G modems more difficult than it originally imagined, much like when it underestimated how difficult it would be to build a competitor to Google Maps. Former Apple CEO Scott Forstall has reportedly been fired over the failure.
Apple’s 5G modem is likely years away
The message comes from Qualcomm, which supplies 5G chips to the vast majority of mobile phone manufacturers. Apple wants to do everything itself, including the modem and Bluetooth chips, but Qualcomm said it and Apple have extended a modem agreement that originally expired this year. Now the two have agreed to extend the agreement until 2026 Can This means that Apple may not be ready with its 5G modems before 2027.
As is known, Apple bought the modem business from Intel in the summer of 2019.
Qualcomm reports that the agreements include deliveries of 5G modems for iPhones in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The reason we’re emphasizing “maybe” is because Apple may be implementing a phased rollout of its 5G chipset – perhaps it will appear in select iPhone models before 2026/2027, perhaps they have ideas to try it on iPads first.
Anyway: In 2026, Qualcomm expects to supply only 20 percent of the modem chips Apple needs for its iPhones, a number it thought it would reach this year: “Apple’s 5G modem is supposed to launch in 2023.” “Does this mean better battery life?” was the title of our article from March 2021.