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Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon has revealed that the 2023 iPhone 15 will be the last model to feature the company’s 5G chip, indicating that Apple will likely switch to its own chipset in 2024. Amon made the comments during an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern at the Mobile World Congress 2023 event.
Apple has been working on developing its own 5G modem chipset to replace the ones it currently purchases from Qualcomm. The company acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business in 2019, including 2,200 engineers, with the goal of eventually producing its own modem. By building its own modem, Apple will no longer need to pay a third-party company for the facility.
Additionally, creating its own modem would allow Apple to produce different 5G modem chips for different devices. This could lead to chips designed specifically for certain use cases, such as prioritizing voice calls on iPhones and speeding up data transfers on iPads.
Reports have previously suggested that Apple had been aiming to use its own 5G chip in the rumored iPhone SE 4, but the chip reportedly performed poorly compared to Qualcomm’s version. This is believed to be one reason why the iPhone SE 4 was allegedly canceled.
Qualcomm had initially stated that it would only be producing modems for 20% of Apple’s 2023 iPhone release but later changed this to the “vast majority” of the range. This change is thought to be due to Apple’s failure to produce its own 5G modem in time.
While Apple has not yet confirmed when it plans to transition to its own 5G chipset, Amon’s comments suggest that it will happen sooner rather than later. Regardless of when the transition takes place, it is clear that Apple’s move to produce its own modem will have significant benefits for the company, including increased control over its supply chain and the ability to tailor its 5G chips to different devices and use cases.