Monday, December 4, 2023

Apple stalls with its 5G modem for the iPhone: it is at least 3 years behind Qualcomm

Since 2019, one of the great objectives of Manzana is to develop your own cellular chip and cut dependence on Qualcomm. However, the challenge has become much more complex than thought. Those from Cupertino are stalled in their effort to develop a 5G modem for the iPhone, and the outlook for the near future is not encouraging.

This is stated in a report by The Wall Street Journal, which sheds light on the difficulties in one of the most audacious projects that Apple has undertaken in recent years. An initiative that has been especially affected by unrealistic goals and poor management of work teams.

According to the aforementioned media, Apple has invested billions of dollars to develop its own 5G modem for the iPhone, getting very poor results. Neither the technology acquired from Intel, nor the hiring of countless engineers “stolen” from that company and Qualcomm, would have been enough to meet objectives that were too ambitious even for Apple.

Those in charge of creating the iPhone’s 5G modem would be spread across different locations, both in the United States and in other countries, and suffering from the lack of a defined leader. Although the project is under the command of the historic Johnny Sroujiso far it would be proving much more traumatic than expected.

Why Apple is not moving forward with its 5G modem for the iPhone

At the end of 2019, Apple would have set a goal of its own 5G modem for the iPhone would be ready for 2023. A goal that was internally known to be impossible to achieve, but whose unfeasibility was only understood at the end of last year.

When those from Cupertino began testing the first prototypes of their chip, they realized that they were on the road to disaster. The component was simply unusable.. It was slow, overheated and, according to the sources of the WSJits circuitry was so large that it took up half the interior space of the iPhone.

This forced Apple to change its roadmap. The 5G modem itself would not debut on the iPhone 15, but on the iPhone 16 in 2024. But everything indicates that this plan has also been discarded. Let’s not forget that, in fact, Qualcomm recently announced the extension of its agreement to continue providing its cellular chip to Apple until 2026.

According to the report, prototypes of Apple’s 5G modem for the iPhone Today they are 3 years behind the best Qualcomm chip. Catching up with its current supplier—and once mortal enemy—will not happen overnight, and will likely cost several billion dollars more.

An extensive journey

But the problems would not only be technical. Bureaucracy would also be playing its part. Apple would have understood on the fly the difficulties of certifying a cellular modem that works with different mobile phone technologies around the world. And it ends up being a paradox that a project born to free itself from dependence on third parties is so tied to their final word. In this case, regulatory entities and telcos.

Jaydeep Ranade, who led Apple’s wireless technology developments until 2018, was lapidary about the case. In his view, the complexity of developing a 5G modem for the iPhone far exceeds that of any other semiconductor. “Just because Apple makes the best processors on the planet, it’s ridiculous to think it could also make a modem”he told The Wall Street Journal.

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