Apple will continue to use Qualcomm modem chips for 2023 iPhone 15 models

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple will continue to source modem chips from Qualcomm for the 2023 iPhone 15 series. Qualcomm said it would supply the “vast majority” of modem chips for Apple’s devices, although it was previously expected to supply only a small percentage of modem chips.

Qualcomm said in November 2021 that it expected to supply 20% of Apple’s modem chips in 2023, suggesting a possible switch to Apple’s own modem chips. Apple has been working to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm by developing its own modem technology in-house, but Apple’s chips don’t appear to be ready to launch in 2023. 

Gurman’s report echoes what we’ve previously heard from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo said in June 2022 that Apple’s work on 5G modem chips “failed” and that Qualcomm would remain the modem supplier for Apple’s 2023 iPhone lineup.

Development on the chip stalled, but work eventually continued, Guo said. Apple is expected to create its own modem chip, but it will take more time to get the job done and make it satisfactory on iPhones and other devices.

Apple launched legal action against Qualcomm in 2017, accusing it of unfairly charging royalties for unrelated technology. Apple wants to switch from Qualcomm to 5G to stop paying Qualcomm and switch to Intel technology, but Intel can’t make 5G chips that meet Apple’s standards.

Apple was forced to settle with Qualcomm and has since used Qualcomm’s 5G modem chips for its iPhone and iPad lines. Since then, Apple has been working on its own modem chips, even acquiring Intel’s modem chip business to get a head start. Initial rumors pointed to 2023 as the year Apple is gearing up for a transition, but it appears that Apple will take longer to wrap up its modem deal with Qualcomm.

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