Qualcomm extends iPhone modem deal amid Apple chip delays

From The Verge: It looks like Apple could still be relying on Qualcomm modem chips for its next few generations of iPhones. On Monday, Qualcomm announced the two companies had extended a modem supply agreement (that was originally set to expire this year) until 2026, suggesting that Apple is experiencing further delays with developing its own in-house 5G modem chips.

No specific iPhone models have been mentioned, though Qualcomm said the new agreement will cover “smartphone launches in 2024, 2025, and 2026.” Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that this doesn’t mean we won’t see Apple’s custom chip in the next three years, however, as the company has been planning a gradual rollout of the new component. By 2026, Qualcomm is now expecting it will supply 20 percent of the modem chips used in Apple phones — which is exactly where it assumed it would be by 2023 back when the original deal was signed in 2019.

Apple has been working toward making a custom 5G modem chip for some time. The company purchased “the majority” of Intel’s smartphone modem business just three months after settling a lawsuit over Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices in 2019 and was reportedly in talks with chipmaking giant TSMC to produce the 5G iPhone modems in 2021. In which case, it must sting all the more that Huawei may have beaten Apple to produce homegrown 5G — the new Mate 60 handset is reportedly powered by a Chinese-made Kirin 9000s chip despite strict US-led export restrictions hindering Huawei’s access to advanced chipmaking tools.

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