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Apple's 5G modem launch said to be delayed again due to development issues

Apple's 5G modem launch said to be delayed again due to development issues

Apple reportedly ran into many issues while developing its own 5G modem. <br>Image source: MacRumours

Apple's plans to launch an in-house 5G modem chip might be delayed again.

Bloomberg's latest report indicates that Apple is likely to miss its target of shipping the 5G modem by the spring of 2025. Sources told Bloomberg it could be postponed to the end of 2025 or early 2026, which, coincidentally, happens to be the final year of Apple's extended modem supply contract with Qualcomm.

Despite working on the modem chip since 2018, Apple's modem chip is said to still be in the early stages of development and might not catch up with the competition by several years.

Apple wanted its modem chip to offer the fastest download speeds in the market, but that goal seems to be out of reach for now. One variant of the first modem does not support mmWave, which current iPhones support in select markets.

Another development issue is related to software. While the acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business provided Apple with some software that powered the modem, most of the Intel codedid not match its expectations and had to be rewritten entirely.

In addition, Apple's modem failed to function properly when new features were added as existing features would break.Apple is also wary of infringing Qualcomm's patents, which has slowed the team's progress significantly.

Even if Apple managed to resolve these issues, the company still has a long road ahead in testing the modem chip. Real-world trials could take years as the modem chip requires testing with different telcos around the world.

Coupled with an overwhelming number of projects the hardware technologies team is taking on, it is increasingly challenging for Apple to fix these engineering issues.

Apple's first 5G modem is believed to be a standalone chip, but the company is already working on a future version that is integrated with a system-on-a-chip. The next iPhone SE was tipped to be the first device to ship with the modem chip, but that could be pushed back by a year too.

In view of these development issues, there is a possibility that Apple might be forced to extend its contract with Qualcomm at least for afew more years.

Source: Bloomberg

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