Iphone 12 5gSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple will begin using its own 5G modems from 2023 onwards, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
  • Apple currently uses Qualcomm's 5G modems.

Apple will begin using its own 5G modems in 2023, with that year's iPhone lineup see to be the first to ditch Qualcomm's part. That's according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, seen by iMore.

Apple currently uses Qualcomm 5G modems, including in the current iPhone 12, but has been working to use its own for some years now. The company also bought Intel's modem business in 2019 as a way to get a leg up, although there is still significant work to be done to be able to provide a modem that can compete with Qualcomm's.

According to Kuo, the 2023 iPhones will be the first to use Apple's own 5G modem which will see Qualcomm then have to begin competing further down the good chain in an attempt to replace the lost iPhone business. Apple currently buys a lot of 5G modems, causing supply constraints elsewhere. Once that constraint eases, Kuo believes that the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek will have considerably less bargaining power than they do now.

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Apple's wish to use its own modems makes plenty of sense, not least because it removes the company's reliance on yet another company. Apple prefers to be able to design its own chips wherever possible, removing bottlenecks and its need to stick to another company's roadmaps. The continued removal of Intel from Apple's devices, via Apple silicon, is a prime example of that.

With 2023 still a couple of years off, expect Qualcomm to be part of iPhone 13 and iPhone 14.