As Apple continues its progression towards using its own bespoke chip design for its smartphones, rumors are rife that the iPhone 16 will be the first iPhone to feature its own in-house 5G modem chip. This switch away from the chips previously used from Qualcomm has been a long time in the making; with Apple’s relationship with Qualcomm going from strained to tempestuous in a short period of time.
The spat was sparked when Apple accused Qualcomm of ‘double dipping’; collecting payment for both the sale of the chip, and through patent royalties later. Qualcomm responded by accusing Apple of blackmail and tension between the two stood only to rise in the coming months. It was only avoided when an out-of-court settlement was reached.
It transpired however, that Apple had been quietly plotting a transition away from Qualcomm for some time, and the settlement merely gave it breathing room. That transition began in earnest when Apple purchased Intel’s modem division to bring its own designs in-house. It was initially thought this process would see the completion of an in-house solution in time for the iPhone 15, but since then two separate reports have cast doubt of this, pointing towards technical and legal challenges that may emerge.
This week Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon was speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and among his comments, he indicated that Apple had not as of yet made any plans to purchase 5G modems from them in 2024.
This suggests that the iPhone 16 may be the first iPhone to feature an in-house designed 5G modem chip. Apple is yet to comment publicly either way but with the unveiling of the iPhone 16 still some months away, there is ample time for the company to make an official comment.
Are you looking forward to the potential of an in-house 5G modem chip in future iPhones? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!