TF International analyst Ming Chi Kuo’
dropped a bombshell in a tweet today when he wrote: “My latest research indicates that development of Apple’s own iPhone 5G modem chip has failed, so Qualcomm remains the exclusive supplier for 5G chips of 2H23 new iPhones, with a 100% delivery share (vs. company’s previous estimate of 20%).”
Apple was eager to design its own 5G modem so it wouldn’t have to deal with Qualcomm, a company that is said to be difficult to work with. In July 2019, Apple spent $1 billion to buy most of Intel’s smartphone modem business as it prepared to develop its own 5G modem for the iPhone. After the $3 billion Apple spent to buy Beats Audio (which became Apple Music), the acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem company was the second-largest purchase Apple has ever made.
Intel apparently had trouble making a 5G modem for Apple to use as a replacement for Qualcomm. And now it seems that Apple’s purchase of the Intel division has yielded no different results.
Reliable analyst Kuo says Apple has failed to produce its own 5G modem
Kuo’s tweet is huge because it reveals that Apple isn’t perfect and until the time comes when it can develop its own 5G smartphone modem, Apple will still have to rely on Qualcomm to purchase the key 5G modem chips needed for the newer 5G iPhone models. Kuo added that he believes Apple will continue to develop its own 5G modem chips for the iPhone.
Before Kuo spread his tweet, it looked like Apple would be using its own 5G modem on the 2023 iPhone 15 line for the first time. Kuo, who had expected Qualcomm to supply Apple with 20% of 5G modems for the iPhone next year, has revised his forecast and now sees Qualcomm supply all 5G modems that will be used on the 2023 iPhone models.