Apple aiming for own 5G modem development

apple 5g modem

As next-gen wireless technology 5G gains momentum globally, Apple is looking for an additional path into homes with its own 5G tech. The hardware giant will leverage technology it acquired from Intel to launch a 5G modem for iPhones in 2022.

Quoting an unnamed source, Fast Company said Apple will move to the yet-to-be-developed modem, after it launches an initial generation of 5G iPhones next year. Those phones will contain Qualcomm-designed modems.

The hurdle to introducing its own 5G modems, of course, will be huge. Developing a modem, putting it through network optimization testing, making sure it is in line with global and FCC standards – and having it certified – will push that 2022 target.

For Apple, it’s a matter of control

But, having its own in-house source for the modems will give Apple the control it typically likes over its products.

Apple acquired Intel’s modem business – lock , stock and barrel – for a rumored $1 billion. But Apple has never produced a modem before. It may not know just what it’s in for. Apple is hoping to eventually develop a system on a chip (SoC) design to leverage the integration for speed and power savings.

5G is ballyhooed as a tool that will help expand the reach of high-quality video streaming services. The technology could provide another reason for consumers to move away from traditional broadcast TV and pay TV. It increases bandwidth and delivery speeds, which could cut latency times below those of broadcast TV.

An increasing number of carriers globally already are trialling 5G and more are anticipated by the end of the year. But, the slim number of phone model available to consumers is problematic. While Samsung, for example, already has 5G models available, Apple is taking a more deliberate path. The company plans to wait until further developments in the technology before rolling out its 5G iPhones.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and onLinkedIn