Apple Looking to Engineer Modem Chips In-House

The Intel XMM 8100 5G modem

Apple may have just made a move that will let it assert even more control over the parts it uses for its iPhones.

A new report from Reuters claims that Apple has now shifted its engineering team behind these modems to the company's primary hardware technology group responsible for A-Series and S-Series chip development. Apple had been using Qualcomm chips but dropped it completely from their iPhones that were released past year.

However, evidence has been mounting that Apple wants to develop cellular modems for the iPhone itself, starting with a December report in The Information on a modem project within Apple.

Though Apple designs and commissions the manufacturing of the iPhone's high-performing A Series chipsets, plenty of other components inside of Apple's phones are bought from other companies.

Apple has said it plans to open an office in San Diego and hire up to 1,000 new employees there over the coming years - further expanding from its current headquarters in Cupertino, California. Samsung and LG now build displays for the iPhone, for instance.

Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, took over the company's modem design efforts in January, the sources said.

In doing so, the company may hope to leave behind Intel modems in its mobile devices, which Apple has used since a recent falling out with Qualcomm. Srouji has been associated with Apple since 2008 and has lead Apple's chip design department.

It's thought third-party chips, which cost between $15 to $20 apiece, have been costing Apple around $3 billion to $4 billion a year for the 200 million iPhones it manufactures. In the absence of actual details, we could always speculate that a future A-series chip that would incorporate an Apple modem would make ideal sense for an always-connected AR headset.

Then there's also the idea that Apple could speed up its already speedy handsets by more closely integrating the designs of its in-house A Series chips with an in-house modem chip. It says that Apple could benefit by combining its modem chips with the processor to save space and improve battery life, which would be "two important considerations if Apple introduces augmented reality features into future products".

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