Apple to make a custom iPhone 5G modem in 2023
Apple to make a custom iPhone 5G modem in 2023

Apple is working on a closer partnership with Taiwanese semiconductor maker TSMC in hopes of reducing its reliance on Qualcomm and plans to have the Taiwanese chip giant start producing iPhone 5G modems in 2023.

Apple plans to use TSMC's 4nm chip technology to mass produce 5G modem chips, and the iPhone manufacturer is developing its high-frequency and millimeter-wave components to complement the modem.

Apple is also developing its own power management chip specifically for modems. All these components are provided by Qualcomm in the latest line of iPhones.

For many years, the American company has tried to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm and better control its bio-semiconductor components.

Two US companies settled a lengthy patent ownership lawsuit in 2019. Qualcomm recently confirmed that its share of iPhone modem orders will drop to around 20% in 2023.

In addition to saving the money Qualcomm is currently being paid to, the development of its modem has also paved the way for the integration of TSMC chips into its internal mobile processors.

This will allow the US tech giant to better control its ability to integrate devices. Besides improving chip efficiency. Most mobile chip developers are now incorporating 5G modem systems into their processor chips.

The modem chip is an important component that determines call quality and data transfer speed. Qualcomm has dominated this space for a long time, as have Taiwan's MediaTek and China's Huawei.

Intel has been supplying Apple modem chips to Qualcomm since 2016. The company pulled out of developing modem chips for smartphones in 2019 and sold its business to Apple.

Although Apple has been using A-series mobile processors for more than a decade, developing a mobile modem presents an even greater challenge because it must support all traditional communication protocols from 2G, 3G, and 4G to the latest standards.

Apple developed the iPhone modem

TSMC has long been a key partner in Apple's strategy to develop more of its components. It is also the only product suitable for iPhone processors and Mac M1 processors.

The Taiwanese tech giant has hundreds of engineers in Cupertino, California to support Apple's chip development roadmap.

For the new iPhone 5G modem, the American company uses a 5nm chip produced by TSMC to design and test the chip.

At the same time, it aims to use the most advanced 4nm technology for mass production. However, marketing will not occur before 2023. One reason for this is that global operators need to check and test new modem chips.

The American company will also use TSMC 4nm technology for iPhone processors in the second half of 2022.

The company is also one of the first to adopt TSMC's most advanced 3nm technology and use it for next year's iPads.

The American company is finalizing its plan to use 3nm technology for iPhone processors as soon as possible before 2023.

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