Last year, the Cupertino giant got rid of Intel and brought CPU and GPU development in-house for all its products. However, Apple is still dependent on Qualcomm for 5G modems, but according to Ming-Chi Kuo, the Cupertino giant’s reliance on Qualcomm would be over by 2023.
In a note to investors, Kuo predicts that the 2023 iPhone lineup would be coming with Apple’s in-house 5G baseband chips ending its reliance on Qualcomm.
“We predict that the iPhone will adopt Apple’s own design 5G baseband chips in 2023 at the earliest. As Android sales in the high-end 5G phone market are sluggish, Qualcomm will be forced to compete for more orders in the low-end market to compensate for Apple’s order loss. When the supply constraints improve, MediaTek and Qualcomm will have less bargaining power over brands, resulting in significantly higher competitive pressure in the mid to low-end market,” Kuo in a note to investors.
Kuo’s prediction corroborates with Barclay’s Analyst reports’ according to which Apple was said to start using its own 5G modems in iPhones starting 2023. The upcoming in-house modem is said to support both sub-6 and mmWave 5G spectrums.
Reports of Apple working on an in-house 5G silicon first emerged in 2019; however, Cupertino giant went back to Qualcomm’s for its network solutions. Later, in 2020 Apple confirmed that the company is developing its own 5G modem. Recently, the Cupertino giant announced its new R&D facility in Munich, Germany, focusing on developing 5G and future wireless technologies.
According to legal documents, iPhone 12 series comes with Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem. Also, the next two generations of iPhones will be using Qualcomm’s X65 and X70 modems. So, this means that Apple has kept Qualcomm as a backup if things go awry.
According to Kuo, Qualcomm would have to push 5G into the budget segment to make out for the losses since the chip giant is believed to lose out on millions of orders. Also, Kuo believes the prices for 5G modems will come down as chip shortage is expected to be eased up, forcing Qualcomm and Mediatek to eventually lower prices.