Apple extends Qualcomm deal as custom 5G modem delayed

Apple extends Qualcomm deal as custom 5G modem delayed

Apple Modem

Apple has recently extended its agreement with Qualcomm to continue obtaining modems for its iPhones for the next three years, according to Bloomberg. This development suggests that Apple’s progress on developing its own custom 5G modem may be slower than initially anticipated.

As Qualcomm’s largest client, accounting for nearly a quarter of the company’s revenue, Apple’s decision to extend the agreement is significant. The deal will cover smartphone launches from 2024 to 2026, providing Qualcomm with continued business from Apple.

Initially, there were rumors that the iPhone 15 lineup would be the last to rely on Qualcomm modems, as Apple had been working on its own modem since 2018. Additionally, Apple acquired a majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business in 2019, indicating its commitment to developing its own modem technology.

However, the timeline for Apple’s custom modem launch has faced delays. Initially expected in 2023, the launch has been pushed back to 2024 or 2025. Bloomberg now suggests that there may be an even longer wait before Apple’s custom modem is ready for market.

Despite the extension of the Qualcomm agreement, Apple may still introduce its own modem in new devices before 2026. This gradual transition to Apple’s custom modem is evident in Qualcomm’s expectation to maintain a 20 percent share of iPhone shipments when the 2026 iPhone launches. This suggests that Apple will continue to use Qualcomm modems in a minority of iPhones during this period.

Apple’s ambition for its custom 5G modem is to replicate its success in developing Apple silicon, emphasizing substantial battery life and performance improvements. However, the development process has encountered challenges, including battery life issues and bureaucratic hurdles with certification.

With the extension of the Qualcomm agreement, Apple’s dedication to creating its own modem technology remains evident. The additional time allows Apple to refine its custom modem and ensure it satisfies their high standards for battery life efficiency and superior performance.

As Apple continues to push the boundaries of smartphone technology, the introduction of its own custom 5G modem has the potential to revolutionize the industry, offering users an even more seamless and powerful mobile experience. So, although the wait for Apple’s custom modem may be longer than expected, the anticipation for its arrival remains high.