TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
dropped a bombshell in a tweet today when he wrote that “My latest survey indicates that Apple’s own iPhone 5G modem chip development may have failed, so Qualcomm will remain exclusive supplier for 5G chips of 2H23 new iPhones, with a 100% supply share (vs. company’s previous estimate of 20%).”
Apple has been eager to design its own 5G modem so that it would not have to deal with Qualcomm, a company that has been cited for being 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 it turned into Apple Music), the acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business was the second largest purchase that Apple has ever made.
Intel apparently had difficulties creating a 5G modem for Apple to use as a Qualcomm replacement. And now it seems that Apple’s purchase of the Intel division failed to produce any different result.
Reliable analyst Kuo says that Apple has failed to produce an in-house 5G modem
Kuo’s tweet is huge because it reveals that Apple
is not perfect and until the time comes that it can develop its own 5G smartphone modem, Apple will still need to rely on Qualcomm to procure the important 5G modem chips that are needed for the newer 5G iPhone models. Kuo did add that he believes Apple will continue to work on developing its own 5G modem chips for the iPhone.
Before Kuo disseminated his tweet, it seemed that Apple would use its own 5G modem for the first time on the 2023 iPhone 15 line. Kuo, who had expected Qualcomm to supply Apple with 20% of the 5G modems used on the iPhone next year, has revised his forecast and now sees Qualcomm delivering all of the 5G modems that will be used on the 2023 iPhone models.