Apple struggled to develop its own 5G modem chip after a failed partnership with Intel. The company’s plan to have its 5G modem chip ready for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 17 series has faced major setbacks. Apple eventually signed a deal with Qualcomm to supply 5G modem chips through 2026, as Apple’s own chip may not be ready until the end of 2025 at the earliest.
A report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple’s homegrown 5G modem chip for the iPhone 17 series is unlikely to be ready by the planned date of 2025. The development of the chip has faced challenges, including issues with size, speed, and overheating. Instead, Apple has continued to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X-series 5G modem chips, with the latest deal covering Apple’s supply through 2026.
With only three years left to develop its own 5G modem chip, it remains uncertain if Apple will be able to meet its goal for the 2027 iPhone 19 series. If it becomes clear that Apple won’t have its own modems ready in time, the tech giant may need to extend its contract with Qualcomm once again.
The difficulties in developing its own 5G modem chip illustrate the challenges faced by Apple in maintaining its technological independence. The company’s reliance on Qualcomm for 5G modem chips highlights the complex dynamics of the tech industry, where even major players like Apple can face setbacks in their efforts to innovate.