Apple to roll its own modems

  • Apple to roll its own modems

Apple to roll its own modems

Apple is doubling down on its effort to design a modem for its devices and has moved its engineering efforts in-house from its supply chain unit.

Modems are an indispensable part of phones and other mobile devices, connecting them to wireless data networks. The engineering efforts are being led by Johny Srouji, Apple's chip guru and the brain behind its A-series of chips. Apple used Qualcomm's modem chips, but has gradually switched to Intel chips since 2016 and abandoned Qualcomm chips in the iPhone released a year ago.

Apple's modem engineering efforts were previously being led by Rubén Caballero who primarily saw the integration of modem with Apple's own chips.

Apple, Qualcomm and Intel either did not respond to a request for comment on this story from Light Reading, or declined to comment.

Reports not too long ago said that Apple is designing yet another key iPhone component in-house to cut its reliance on outsideparty suppliers. The Cupertino-based company also released recruitment information for modem engineers in San Diego. "These efforts have always been known to be an interest to Apple and the company has long appeared to be aiming for the 5G timeframe to make it possible", wrote Anshel Sag, a consumer and chip tech analyst at research and consulting firm Moor Insights & Strategy, in response to questions on the topic. There's no room for some substandard component in that phone'.

Qualcomm's 5G modem will equip several Android smartphones this year, with rivals Samsung and Huawei manufacturing their own smartphone modems.

Now, Apple is likely to drop third-party cellular chips altogether in favor of its own, designed in-house by the same team that develops its impressive A-series chipsets. Qualcomm provides this synergy for phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9, which uses both Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor and Snapdragon LTE modem.

According to the latest numbers provided by Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon, modem chips cost between $15 Dollars and $20, and they will likely cost the iPhone maker between $3 billion to $4 billion for the 200 million devices it sells annually. That saves space and battery life, two important considerations if Apple introduces augmented reality features into future products.