Apple's in-house cellular modem might not be used in iPhones until 2021

Apple modem
The iPhone X (Space Gray), iPhone XS (Silver), and iPhone XS Max (Gold)

Following a number of job listings last month which sparked speculation, today a new report states that Apple is indeed working on its very own cellular modem at the moment.

According to The Information, an anonymous source familiar with the company’s plans has confirmed that Apple’s cellular modem is indeed an active project at the moment. To further back up these claims, the report cites a job listing that was published just one week ago. In it, Apple states that the person hired will be “a key member” of its wireless architecture team “working on modem systems architecture.” Additionally, the employee will “develop wireless signal processing algorithms” and be required to collaborate with chip vendors in order to “ensure consistency.”

Once again, this job listing specifically mentions 5G and 4G LTE networks. But it, unfortunately, doesn’t list anything about the project’s length. According to the report mentioned above, though, Apple’s proprietary modem may take up to three years to develop. This means that it might not make it into iPhones until the 2021 model year.

In the meantime, Apple is expected to continue exclusively using Intel’s modems on new smartphones. Additionally, if the modem does indeed arrive in 2021, it would mean that Apple’s first 5G iPhones will feature Intel models too – these are currently set to arrive in 2020.

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