Apple wants to ship devices with in-house 5G modems by 2021
Apple has set a 2021 deadline for its in-house 5G modem
Speaking to Reuters, one person familiar with the matter said Apple now wants to “have an internally developed 5G modem tech ready for use in some of its products by 2021.” Intel’s smartphone modem business, for comparison, was previously aiming for an earlier release in 2020. Apple itself hasn’t commented on the matter but the new target date suggests it’s looking to make further improvements to the product before launching it.
Although some people may interpret the delay versus Intel’s timeline as a negative thing, it actually represents a huge improvement over Apple’s previous targets. Before yesterday’s acquisition announcement, the Cupertino giant was reportedly aiming for a launch in 2025, which means its latest acquisition has reduced development times by as much as four years.
The iPad Pro 5G could be the first device with an in-house modem
Although Apple is targeting a 2021 launch for its first in-house modem, there’s no guarantee it’ll be ready in time for that year’s iPhone lineup in September. But even if it is, the company probably won’t choose to use it. Why? The risk.
Despite efforts to create new streams of revenue, most of Apple’s business still revolves around the iPhone and will continue doing so for years to come. Without it, AirPods and the Apple Watch are basically useless, and the company’s upcoming services will struggle to grow. Because of this, the Silicon Valley-based company needs to ensure a certain level of quality when it comes to selecting iPhone components. Otherwise, the company could face issues which will lead to a backlash from consumers and ultimately lost sales. This, in turn, would affect almost every other aspect of Apple’s business.
Selecting its modem may seem like a brilliant idea on paper – it would reduce the number of suppliers and ultimately lead to higher profit margins – but it’s also a massive risk because things could still go wrong. This is why Apple will likely use its in-house modem inside a different device first, more specifically the 5G iPad Pro.