Apple is expected to break Qualcomm’s exclusivity next year as it plans to use its first 5G modem in its flagship iPhone lineup. A new report claims that Apple will employ TSMC’s 3nm technology for its custom solution, with risk production expected to begin in late 2023. The iPhone 15 is rumoured to be the last iPhone series to only feature Qualcomm’s baseband chips.
Apple’s 5G modem has the codename ‘Ibiza,’ and production is expected to begin in the second half of 2023.
Considering that Apple appears to have secured all of TSMC’s initial 3nm supply, it is likely that the company’s first 5G modem will also be mass-produced using the same manufacturing process. According to Commercial Times, citing supply chain sources, the report predicts that risk production will begin in the second half of 2023, while wafer production will gradually increase in the first half of the following year.
This timeline indicates that the iPhone 15 family will continue to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems exclusively, likely taking advantage of the newest Snapdragon X70, while the iPhone 16 family will transition to Apple’s 5G modem later on. The development of this custom chip began in 2020, and it is safe to assume that the technology giant encountered a number of obstacles along the way.
Even now, we anticipate that Apple’s custom 5G modem will be mass-produced in fewer quantities, meaning Qualcomm could still capture the majority of shipments for a few more years before its chips become obsolete. Apple’s ultimate goal is to be independent of several third-party chip suppliers, including Broadcom, as it investigates the possibility of combining cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity into a single package.
Obviously, this transition will take several years to complete, but for the time being, we should focus on 2024. This is the time when Apple will likely provide more information about its 5G modem’s power savings, improved integration with the iPhone, and, of course, satellite connectivity features.