Apple reportedly two years from in-house modem, analyst says

Apple faces 5G modem wait

10 MAY 2021

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reportedly predicted Apple was at least two years away from launching an iPhone using its own 5G mobile modem to replace current Qualcomm equipment.

The analyst, who tracks Apple through talks with its suppliers, reportedly stated Qualcomm would need to beef-up its presence in the lower-tier smartphone segment to offset the loss of iPhone business.

Apple accounts for around 10 per cent of Qualcomm’s revenue.

The vendor’s 5G iPhone 12 uses an in-house processor and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem: its next models are expected to use the chipmaker’s X60 5G modem, which can aggregate mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum.

Apple briefly used Intel equipment in its 4G models before purchasing the company’s modem business for $1 billion in 2019, sparking speculation around its 5G plans.

In addition to a somewhat contentious history between Apple and Qualcomm, the device maker may be looking to its own products to offset the impact of a global shortage of semiconductor components.

On a recent earnings call, Apple predicted chip shortages would impact revenue by between $3 billion and $4 billion in its current fiscal quarter.

Qualcomm is also feeling the heat, but expects material improvement by the end of the calendar year.

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Martha DeGrasse

Freelance tech journalist Martha DeGrasse (@mardegrasse) is delighted to be contributing to Mobile World Live. Martha has written for a number of telecom and wireless publications, and was a writer, editor and video producer at RCR Wireless News for almost...

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