What you need to know

  • Apple's first products with a custom 5G modem could arrive as early as 2021.
  • Apple previously said the acquisition of Intel's IP could expedite development on future products.
  • The acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business is expected to close at the end of this year.

After announcing plans to acquire the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business, Apple is getting straight to work on a custom 5G modem. According to Reuters, this custom hardware could arrive in new Apple products as soon as 2021.

Here's what Reuters said, citing anonymous sources:

A person familiar with the matter said Apple plans to use Qualcomm's modem technology for a 5G iPhone in 2020 but wants to have an internally developed 5G modem technology ready for use in some of its products by 2021.

It's an ambitious timeline, but Apple has already said its acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business will expedite development on future products. Here's what Johny Srouji, Apple's senior Vice President of hardware technologies, had to say when announcing the acquisition of Intel.

Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they'll thrive in Apple's creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.

With the acquisition, Apple will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, from protocols for cellular standards to modems architecture.

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Apple currently has a deal in place with Qualcomm to use its hardware over the next six years, so Apple has plenty of time to build a custom 5G modem. According to Reuters, however, Apple wants to cut ties with Qualcomm as soon as possible, and consumers may see some exciting new things come 2021.

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