Apple plans to adopt TSMC’s 4-nanometer chip production technology to mass produce its first in-house 5G modem chip, four people familiar with the matter said, adding that the iPhone maker is developing its own radio frequency and millimeter wave components to complement the modem. Apple is also working on its own power management chip specifically for the modem, two people briefed on the matter said.
Apple’s key chip manufacturing partner TSMC will begin building Apple’s first in-house 5G modem chips for the iPhone in 2023. Apple will be able to transition away from Qualcomm as a supplier for the essential processors that facilitate cellular connectivity, a move that has been in the works for some years and was boosted by Apple’s 2019 acquisition of the bulk of Intel’s modem division.
The report lines up with previous rumors of Apple launching its own modem as part of the 2023 iPhone lineup, and Qualcomm last week revealed that it is using a planning assumption that it will only have a 20% share of modem production for the 2023 iPhone. Qualcomm believes that Apple will be using its own modem solution in most regions around the world, but will continue to rely on Qualcomm for certain markets, at least initially.
Today’s report from Nikkei says that Apple and TSMC are currently trialing production of Apple’s in-house modem designs using TSMC’s 5-nanometer process, but that they will shift to the more advanced 4-nanometer technology for mass production. TSMC is already aiming to use 4-nanometer technology for the main A-series chip in the 2022 iPhone lineup, with 2022 iPads and 2023 iPhones moving to 3-nanometer technology for their A-series chips.
The News Highlights
- In 2023, TSMC will begin producing Apple-designed 5G modems for iPhones
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