Apple is developing a new chip that would power the cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth features on its products. According to Bloomberg, the company is also working on a replacement for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip it now uses from Broadcom, which it plans to start integrating into products in 2025.
Bloomberg also revealed some fresh details regarding Apple’s initiatives to create its own cellular modems to compete with Qualcomm’s. Bloomberg claims that Apple will utilize its own modems “by the end of 2024 or early 2025,” despite Qualcomm previously claiming that it expects to have the “vast bulk” of 5G modems for 2023 iPhones during its Q4 2022 earnings. According to reports, Apple would begin by implementing its bespoke modem in one product and switch everything over within three years.
In response to questions, Qualcomm spokesperson Clare Conley cited what the firm said on its Q4 earnings call: “For Apple product sales, we now expect to have the vast majority of share of 5G modems for the 2023 iPhone launch, up from our previous 20% assumption. Beyond this, there have been no changes to our planning assumption, and we are projecting minimal contribution from Apple product revenues in fiscal ‘25.”
Should Apple continue with putting these alleged chips into production, they would be an addition to the company’s expanding line-up of custom chips and processors, which currently includes items like its A-series system-on-a-chip line-up. The cellular modem, however, appears to have been challenging to create. Nikkei reported in 2021 that Apple wants to use its own 5G modem starting in 2023, but Qualcomm’s most recent remarks suggest that Apple won’t be moving until 2024 at the earliest. The company purchased “the majority” of Intel’s smartphone modem division in 2019.
Uncertainty surrounds the potential inclusion of a cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth chip in an iPhone anytime soon. We may still be waiting for a while for the in-house cellular modem on its own, so a combined component may be quite some time off.