Apple had previously re-entered into a 5G modem licensing agreement with Qualcomm that would last for three years, with the partnership expected to expire in 2026. However, according to the San Diego firm’s Q1 2024 earnings call, CEO Christiano Amon stated that the agreement has now been extended to March 2027. This update pretty much suggests that Apple is facing immense difficulties with its in-house 5G modem development and will require even more time to get things in order.
Custom 5G modem from Apple was previously reported to launch in late 2025, or early 2026, but a new update suggests it will take even longer
Speaking with CNBC, Qualcomm’s Chief Executive spoke on the latest 5G modem licensing agreement, stating that he was extremely happy with the relationship with Apple since an extended partnership means that the baseband chip maker will enjoy a healthy revenue stream for several years. Apple was previously said to be working on a custom 5G modem, with a launch targeted for late 2025 or early 2026.
Though the Cupertino giant did not comment on the latest update, the licensing agreement extension speaks volumes of the turmoil the company is experiencing as it attempts to reduce dependency on Qualcomm through its in-house 5G modem. Unfortunately, that plan has hit more than a few snags than Apple would care to admit. Firstly, early iterations of the custom modem suffered from performance and overheating problems, making them several generations behind what Qualcomm mass produced.
Even after acquiring Intel’s 5G modem business for $1 billion, Apple continues to face massive hurdles that it is unable to scale, which is probably also one of the reasons why it has repeatedly delayed its low-cost iPhone SE 4, as each Qualcomm chip would leave little to no margin for Apple to capitalize on. It is unlikely that Apple’s team of managers and engineers has stalled the development of the in-house solution, but it is frustrating for those individuals, knowing that they can make the best chips for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but fail to make a dent in the cellular category.
News Source: CNBC