Apple is working on a new in-house chip that would power cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth functionality on its devices, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company is also developing its own chip that would replace the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip it currently uses from Broadcom, Bloomberg says, which it wants to begin using in devices in 2025.
Bloomberg also shared some new information about Apple’s efforts to develop its own cellular modems to replace Qualcomm’s. While Qualcomm recently said during its Q4 2022 earnings that it expects to have the “vast majority” of 5G modems for 2023 iPhones, Bloomberg says Apple will use its own modems “by the end of 2024 or early 2025.” Apple will apparently start by using its custom modem in one product and fully transition them over the course of approximately three years.
When reached for comment, Qualcomm spokesperson Clare Conley pointed to what the company said during its Q4 earnings call: “For Apple product revenue, we now expect to have the vast majority of share of 5G modems for the 2023 iPhone launch, up from our previous 20% assumption. Beyond this, there are no changes to our planning assumption, and we are assuming minimal contribution from Apple product revenues in fiscal ‘25.”
Should Apple bring these rumored chips to production, they would mark yet more additions to the company’s growing number of custom chips, which already includes things like its A-series system-on-a-chip lineup. However, the cellular modem has seemingly proven tricky to develop. The company acquired “the majority” of Intel’s smartphone modem business in 2019, and Nikkei reported in 2021 that Apple wanted to use its own 5G modem starting in 2023, but Qualcomm’s recent comments indicate that Apple won’t be switching until 2024 at the earliest.
It’s unclear when a combined cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth chip could be included in an iPhone. Given that we might still be waiting a while for the in-house cellular modem on its own, we could be a long ways out from a combined component. Apple and Broadcom didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Update January 9th, 6:06PM ET: Added comment from Qualcomm.