Apple’s In-House 5G Modem Spurs Suppliers’ Competition for Assembly Orders

The speculated development of Apple’s in-house 5G modem for iPhones has piqued the interest of multiple suppliers, eager to contribute to the final assembly of the cutting-edge chip.

While it is highly probable that Apple’s long-standing chipmaking collaborator, TSMC, will manufacture the custom-designed modem, other suppliers are keen on handling the crucial final packaging stage. According to Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes, both ASE Technology and Amkor Technology are vying for the opportunity to package these modem chips. These two companies already possess valuable experience in packaging Qualcomm’s modem chips, as mentioned in the report.

At present, Qualcomm serves as the exclusive supplier of 5G modems for Apple devices, including the entire iPhone 14 lineup. However, rumors have circulated that Apple is actively working on designing its proprietary 5G chip to replace Qualcomm’s offerings. Last month, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon predicted that Apple’s 5G modem would be market-ready by 2024. Yet, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that it could take up to three years for Apple to fully transition away from relying on Qualcomm.

The first device slated to feature Apple’s custom 5G modem is the fourth-generation iPhone SE, likely to hit the market around March 2024. Although it remains uncertain how Apple’s chip will fare against Qualcomm’s modems in terms of performance, the shift to an in-house design is expected to ultimately reduce Apple’s production costs.

All iPhone 15 models are anticipated to be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 modem. This next-generation modem boasts enhanced cellular speed and power efficiency improvements compared to the Snapdragon X65 found in all iPhone 14 models.

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