It’s no surprise: since at least 2019 and the acquisition of Intel’s network chip business, Apple has been known to be working on an “in-house” 5G modem. A way to cut the cord with its supplier Qualcomm, even if this development takes longer than expected.
Qualcomm should, however, begin to sense the danger as early as the end of 2024, predicts Bloomberg. Apple could indeed integrate its own 5G chip first in a new product, perhaps a high-end iPhone, before finding its way into the entire range. This in-between period would last about three years.
Ming-Chi Kuo said last week that Apple had considered implanting its 5G modem in the 4th generation iPhone SE which was due for release in 2024 – ultimately, Apple would simply have abandoned the project of a new entry-level smartphone.
Besides, cellular access is far from the only project underway in the secret labs of Cupertino. The publication tells us that Apple is also working on a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection chip. From 2025, Apple would therefore abandon components supplied by Broadcom for this vital part of the iPhone and its other products. It would be a blow for Broadcom, for which Apple represents the largest customer (20% of its annual turnover actually comes from Apple).
The manufacturer is not starting from a blank sheet: after all, the H1 and H2 chips of the AirPods as well as the W3 chip of the Apple Watch already integrate in-house components for wireless connections. But a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip developed entirely in-house would be a decisive step towards complete autonomy for Apple. Secondly, this Wi-Fi / Bluetooth chip would accommodate connection to 5G networks.