The 5G modem project independently developed by Apple has been highly anticipated, but faces new challenges. According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman's latest Power On newsletter, the release time of Apple's self-developed 5G modem may be delayed again, as early as the end of 2025.
In 2019, Apple acquired most of Intel's smartphone business and began seriously developing its own modem hardware, aiming to reduce dependence on suppliers such as Qualcomm. However, the development process of self-developed 5G modems has not been smooth and faces various challenges and difficulties.
Apple initially planned to launch its own internal modem chip before 2024, but this goal could not be achieved. Now, according to Gulman, Apple is also unable to catch up with the delayed spring 2025 release schedule. At present, the release of modem chips has been postponed to the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026, and Apple still intends to use this technology first in the low-end iPhone SE version.
At present, the development of modem chips is still at an early stage, "which may be several years behind the competitors". The version being developed does not support faster millimeter wave technology, and Apple has also encountered issues with Intel code that require rewriting and optimization. In addition, Apple must also avoid infringing Qualcomm's patent rights when developing chips.
It is reported that an Apple employee said to Gulman, "Why do we think we can take over a failed project from Intel and achieve success in some way? This is a mystery." It is said that Apple's hardware technology team is "struggling" in many projects, making it difficult to fix errors.
Apple's dissatisfaction with Qualcomm began in 2017, when Apple sued Qualcomm for unfairly charging unrelated technology patent fees. Apple believes that Qualcomm charges too much for its modem chip technology. According to the new agreement, Qualcomm will supply Snapdragon series 5G modems and RF systems for Apple's iPhones launched in 2024, 2025, and 2026.
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