Unconfirmed sources in Asia, including the production department, believe that Apple has given up on designing and therefore also mass-producing its own 5G modems primarily for the iPhone.
Two sources hear the same thing
X leaker @Tech_Reve thinks the same, and has been told the same by Japanese production staff. The rumors are swirling after Bloomberg's Mark Gurman described in a number of reports that the company is still struggling to get the project off the ground, and is said to have underestimated how complicated the modem design is with consequent poor performance in prototype models.
The reports are that Apple is slowly but surely now winding down the long-standing project which must have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D.
Going forward, 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.
No modem in MacBooks?
20. November we wrote, among other things, that Apple's plan is to implement its own modems in MacBooks, but can it happen now? If so, they will have to extend the deal with Qualcomm, a company they supposedly hate.
“Now the revelation to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg is that the extension of the modem strategy is to implement own modems in MacBooks. It is a curious thing that iPads can be purchased with eSIM support, but that MacBooks have never had the option of always being online - instead, the user must "hotspot" to their own mobile or use public WiFi networks, where the latter is far from certain.”
We also reported on November 17 that the plan should have been to test the modem in the iPhone SE first, the least important model:
“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.”
We don't feel quite sure that Apple has completely given up, but it is possible that they have extended the time horizon and know that they will not be able to do it for many years.