Apple’s quest to exercise control over the supply chain of components on its phones is pretty insane, however, not without unprecedented challenges. Apple reportedly hit rock bottom developing its 5G modems and seems like the in-house Wi-Fi chips it has been developing, will face the same fate.
Industry sources, according to DigiTimes, say that Apple has already invested heavily in both 5G modems and Wi-Fi chips, however, it appears that the tech giant has encountered bottlenecks. It is also because both Qualcomm (for 5G chips) and Broadcom (for Wi-Fi chips) are industry leaders and years ahead in terms of technologies and patents used in devices such as iPhones. So much so that a tech juggernaut like Apple couldn’t catch up in a short span which means, it has to wait for a few years down the line to catch up.
The 5G modems that Apple had been developing in-house faced performance issues, overheating, and other problems and it seems like the Wi-Fi chips are not far from these issues. Both Qualcomm and Broadcom have accumulated significant experience along with patented technologies that give both an edge over others.
In case Apple increases both the investment and the brains behind developing a custom Wi-Fi chip, it would be a tall order until it reaches Broadcom’s level of power efficiency and connectivity. Even if Apple injects a heavy investment, developing the chips faster could falter the project which isn’t a to-go solution for the tech giant that has always been too cautious of what goes inside its devices, and of course, the monetary benefits are on the table such as by using lightning port over USB-C (which it did change in 2023).
It would be foolish of Apple to use in-house Wi-Fi chips on mainstream products such as iPhones. Instead, they could be a part of the iPhone SE4 or other devices before venturing onto the iPhones.
Talking about the availability, the Wi-Fi chips could make it to the market in 2025 possibly prompting Broadcom to run aground. We could expect 5G modems from Apple to make it on iPhones in 2025 or 2026 as well although for now, Qualcomm and Broadcom are the ultimate chipmakers for the Cupertino giant.