Apple extends Qualcomm contract to 2026 as homebrew 5G chip dream still on snooze

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Apple looks to person further delayed nan preamble of its ain 5G modem chips aft it extended an statement pinch Qualcomm to usage its components until astatine slightest 2026.

The US-based smartphone chipmaker said it has entered into an statement to proviso Snapdragon 5G Modem‑RF Systems for Apple smartphone launches successful 2024, 2025, and 2026, meaning nan iPhone shaper will proceed to usage its cellular silicon for astatine slightest nan adjacent 3 years.

But nan luxury hardware institution has longstanding plans to yet usage its ain power spot designs successful its handsets. As The Register reported earlier this year, it was said to beryllium preparing internally produced modem chips for preamble successful 2024, which would switch those it buys successful from Qualcomm.

Looking backmost moreover further, it was reported successful 2021 that nan Cupertino-based corp was aiming to person homebrewed 5G silicon successful nan iPhone models released this year, which would presumably person been nan iPhone 15 family that is wide expected to beryllium announced astatine an Apple event successful nan US later coming (September 12).

That nary longer appears to beryllium nan case, and experts are divided complete nan reasons, pinch galore claiming Apple is simply uncovering it harder to travel up pinch its ain cellular modem silicon than it had anticipated, while different reports constituent to Cupertino struggling pinch proviso concatenation issues.

"Given nan humanities narration betwixt Apple and Qualcomm and nan accustomed strategy from Apple astir avoiding azygous vendor lock-in, it is clear that Apple's privilege is to create their ain chipsets and extremity this statement pinch Qualcomm," IDC Associate Vice President Alejandro Cadenas told us.

However, Apple's efforts to create its ain 5G chipsets are intelligibly not progressing arsenic expected, and it needs to widen nan statement to get to a constituent erstwhile it will beryllium capable to switch to its ain hardware, Cadenas said.

"Unofficial expectations are that it will not return till 2026, but that will springiness Apple capable clip to make judge their ain replacement is precocious capable quality," he added.

In a tweet connected nan tract formerly known arsenic Twitter, PP Foresight telecoms expert Paolo Pescatore called nan announcement "significant" and said it provides short to mid-term certainty for some companies.

Also connected societal media, CCS Insight Chief Analyst Ben Wood said nan move "underlines challenges Apple faces to create its ain 5G solutions," but added: "Make nary correction Apple is not giving up. It continues to propulsion immense resources astatine this challenge."

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A study successful nan South China Morning Post hinted that nan iPhone shaper is much focused connected strengthening its proviso chains, saying nan institution faces "increased challenges" successful China and is seeking to summation its proviso of components from elsewhere.

Whatever nan precise reason, each work together this is simply a triumph for Qualcomm, astatine slightest successful nan short term.

"Qualcomm has astir apt leveraged their marketplace position and Apple's deficiency of alternatives to scope a commercialized statement for illustration this. Big triumph for Qualcomm," commented Cadenas.

However, nan position of nan statement were not made public. According to a little position connected its investor site, Qualcomm said they are akin to nan woody it struck pinch Apple successful 2019, erstwhile nan institution abruptly withdrew ineligible claims it had revenge against nan smartphone chipmaker.

That ineligible action progressive claims that Qualcomm was abusing its marketplace power to complaint excessively overmuch successful royalties for cellular technology, and saw Apple concisely move to utilizing modem silicon from Intel successful protest.

The 2 companies settled each their licensing disagreements retired of tribunal and signed a caller woody for Apple to usage Qualcomm chips successful iPhones. The nonaccomplishment of Apple arsenic a customer pulled nan rug from nether Intel's 5G modem efforts, and led to Apple assimilating nan mostly of Intel's smartphone modem business soon afterwards successful a transaction weighted astatine $1 billion.

Ironically, that move gave Apple nan resources it needed to create its ain modem spot designs, though it appears to beryllium taking longer than nan outfit expected. We asked Apple for comment, and will update if we perceive back. ®