Apple reportedly begins work on its own cellular modem to ditch Qualcomm


You next iPhone might have a homegrown cell modem inside.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Apple has begun developing its own cellular modem for its devices, Bloomberg reported Thursday, in a move that could replace components provided by Qualcomm.

Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, told employees of the effort during a town hall meeting, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the comments. Cellular modems allow smartphones to make phone calls and connect to the internet through cellular networks.

“This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem, which will enable another key strategic transition,” Srouji reportedly said. “Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future.”

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a homegrown cell modem. In 2018, the company advertised a job opening for a lead designer for a cell modem platform.

Apple has had a rocky relationship with Qualcomm, the biggest supplier in mobile processing platforms. Qualcomm, which makes a significant amount of money from licensing its patents, and Apple previously were close partners, with Qualcomm supplying high-end modems for iPhones. But the two were engaged in a two-year legal battle over patent licensing in which Apple accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive practices, a dispute the two companies settled in 2019.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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