For several years there has been talk of Apple's desire for its own WiFi chips.
Apple started the work over five years ago
More forward in time, Apple's strategy is to create its own Bluetooth, WiFi, and 5G modem, and place it all in the same chip to be in control, save money (in the long term,) and increase the battery life of their products, especially the iPhone. However, designing and manufacturing 5G chips is difficult. Qualcomm is best in class and owns the majority of the Android mobile and iPhone segment.
Apple has found that out a number of times, the last time when they had to extend the agreement with the manufacturer in September, it was revealed that Tim Cook and the team don't just dislike Qualcomm, but actually “hate” them:
“Not only is Apple struggling to do its own thing in the area where the plan is to end up with a chip that has Bluetooth, 5G, and WiFi, but the relationship between them and Qualcomm will be miserable, we believe the WSJ: “They hate Qualcomm,” claims Edward Snyder. Snider is an expert in the wireless communications segment and is a manager at Charter Equity. It doesn't come as a big shock all the time Apple sued the company for 1 billion dollars in 2017 - they thought the license fees were too stiff."
Can't beat Qualcomm on performance
Now Bloomberg reports in a recent report that Apple is struggling extra with a single component that is absolutely necessary in a 5G chip. This means that they will not meet the deadline of spring 2025. Bloomberg believes that this means that Apple will have to wait until the end of 2025, or perhaps 2026 – the latter being the last year Apple and Qualcomm's agreement is valid. Will they have to extend another time?
"Thousands of employees have been working on the project since 2018, and Apple is still years away from solving the problem," Bloomberg reveals. Apple hopes to create a chip with even better performance than what Qualcomm delivers, but it's a complex puzzle: the chip has to seamlessly connect to hundreds of different operators around the world. In terms of performance, Apple is not said to have progressed far enough to be able to beat Qualcomm's technology. That they were far away was also reported a few months ago.
A big problem is said to have been the 5G software that originally came from Intel after Apple bought their modem business in 2019. According to the sources, practically everything had to be rewritten.
Apple's goal was to "test" its own 5G chip in the iPhone SE, which is the least important model. The plan was to do it already this year, but now experts don't think the company will be able to do it until 2026. After the SE, the iPad and Watch will be equipped with the 5G chip before the main iPhone models will be equipped with an upgraded model - maybe in 2027, maybe in 2028? For now, the product is referred to as being in an "early development phase." This is per people with knowledge of Apple's internal plans. Then it will probably take quite a while, just like the batteries they are researching.