iPhone 15's major Wi-Fi upgrade might not be made by Apple after all

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island
(Image credit: iMore)

The rumor mill for the iPhone 15 has been grinding away early in 2023, with supply chain woes and chip development all trading blows. Now, it looks like one of the biggest upgrades we can expect from the iPhone 15 will come from a completely different place. 

Apple has been working on an in-house Wi-Fi chip for some time, according to early buzz, but it looks like it's been put to bed. The ever-reliable Apple tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote the following on his Medium page:

"my latest semiconductor industry survey (foundry, equipment, and packaging and testing) indicates that Apple has halted the development of its own Wi-Fi chip for a while."

It seems investors were concerned that the development of an Apple Wi-Fi chip might affect Broadcom, the current industry leader. Kuo goes on to put these investors' minds at ease - because Broadcom will make the Wi-Fi chips for the iPhone 15. With its upgrade to Wi-Fi 6E, Broadcom will essentially be Apple's only option. Instead, Apple of radio chips, Apple will focus on the development of the M2 and A16 chips, Kuo says.

There is another...

That's not to say that Apple have completely given up on the idea. Responding to Kuo on twitter, Mark Gurman tells us that work continues on an Apple Bluetooth+WiFi chip.

See more

What does this mean? This Bluetooth and WiFi chip is another chip that could go into a future best iPhone or a MacBook, and its development, according to Kuo, is more difficult. It would stand to reason, therefore that Apple is putting more resources into this rather than the WiFi-only chip.

Either way, this makes the Broadcom situation more interesting. Previously, Broadcom has been the leader in both WiFi chips and WiFi and Bluetooth combination chips. While investors might not have anything to worry about with the WiFi chip situation, Kuo goes on:

"...investors should not be worried about Apple’s own Wi-Fi chip affecting Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chip business in the foreseeable future."

There could be more to worry about for the future with Apple's continued investment into WiFi and Bluetooth combi chips (if Gurman is to be believed).

Broadcom does look to be benefitting from the iPhone 15's switch to the 6E WiFi standard, given they're the sole creators and developers of those chips. The future a little further away, however, looks a little more curious.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.