In September 2023, Qualcomm announced its partnership with Apple would last till 2026, wherein the former would continue supplying Modem-RF Systems for future iPhone models. The current iPhone models (those in the iPhone 15 series) rely on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 5G modems for high-speed cellular data, low latency, and global coverage. Most recently, Apple reportedly abandoned its 5G modem efforts. However, per a new report, the Cupertino-based tech giant is now focussing on making 6G modems.
Apple Needs To Come Up With a Solution Soon
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple doesn’t want to rely on Qualcomm for iPhones’ modems, which is exactly what it would have to do if it doesn’t develop an in-house solution until 2026. Even though modems are challenging to develop as they require global testing in terrains with different climates, creating its solution would help Apple gain more control over the technology and lower the costs in the long run.
The Company Is Working On 6G Modems
Gurman rejects the recent reports about Apple discontinuing its 5G modem development. He writes that the company is turning toward 6G technology. Since the next-generation cellular network won’t arrive until 2030, the company has enough time to develop working prototypes and test them in different regions. More importantly, Apple’s 6G modem technology will work on the current 5G towers.
A Job Listing Confirms Apple’s Plan
Per a job listing on Apple’s website, the company is hiring for a Cellular Platform Architect, one who “will drive and coordinate the design and modeling of a 6G reference architecture.” The job listing also mentions implementing prototypes and referring to models to evaluate the technology and use cases. This clarifies that the company has shifted its focus from a 5G modem to a 6G modem to create a solution that won’t age that quickly.
However, whether the company will be able to come up with a working modem by 2026 is something that it needs to figure out, as its current contract ends three years from now. Although Apple has been working on a modem since 2021, it hasn’t had any luck.