Apple might ditch Qualcomm for in-house modems

An Apple store front in China

Apple is reportedly building its own cellular modems to use in future iPhones and iPads in order to lessen its reliance on Qualcomm technology.

The company's senior VP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, revealed the move in a meeting with Apple employees on Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Last month the tech giant launched new a MacBook Air, Macbook Pro, and Mac Mini with its own in-house ARM chips instead of Intel processors. The switch went down well with critics and consumers, and it seems the firm is looking to do the same with cellular modems.

"This year, we kicked off the development of our first internal cellular modem which will enable another key strategic transition," Srouji said, according to Bloomberg. "Long-term strategic investments like these are a critical part of enabling our products and making sure we have a rich pipeline of innovative technologies for our future."

News of an in-house modem will not come as a surprise to many that have been following Apple's work with both Intel and Qualcomm. In July, the iPhone maker acquired the former's smartphone modem business, which indicated that it was only a matter of time before Apple would launch its own hardware.

Apple and Qualcomm are also not the happiest of partners; ahead of the Intel unit purchase, Apple reached a surprise settlement with Qualcomm over patent infringements. The two had been locked in a legal war for the best part of two years before the iPhone maker sought a financial resolution.

Part of the settlement involved a multi-year deal with Qualcomm for a reported $4.5 billion. Apple is thought to have been forced into the deal because it needed Qualcomm tech in order to launch this year's 5G-capable iPhone 12, but there are still around five years left on that agreement.

The suggestion here is that Apple might be using a combination of Qualcomm and its own chips over the next few years - or it takes a loss on the agreement.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.