Apple Skipping 5G to Focus on 6G Modem Development for Future iPhones

Apple Skipping 5G to Focus on 6G Modem Development for Future iPhones

Apple has been working on its own 5G modem for the iPhone. Everyone in Silicon Valley knows about the challenges they face. But, a recent claim suggests that Apple wants to move beyond 5G sooner. They are focusing on future 6G connectivity before it’s likely to appear in a future iPhone.

Apple has been developing its own 5G modem gear since buying Intel’s modem division in 2019. The company spent $1 billion to get Intel’s expertise but hasn’t made a working chip yet. Apple struggles more with making modems than designing its chips, as per reports. These devices include the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. But there are signs that Apple wants to move forward and even beat 5G without understanding it.

Apple is hiring 6G engineers, and people are curious about what will happen next. But it will likely have to compete with an old rival before 6G is ready for mainstream use. Qualcomm might remain a part of iPhones for some time to come.

Forget 5G; 6G is the way to go

Apple has had problems with 5G. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says they want to be leaders in 6G. In the monthly Power On newsletter, Gurman says Apple is hiring engineers to study 6G.

In 2021, Apple hired 6G engineers. But the job description was unclear about their tasks. A new job posting has made it quite clear what the goal is: to begin creating 6G modems for use on future networks.

As a cellular platform architect, your job is to design and model a 6G reference architecture. To test different technologies, we make sample prototypes and models.”

Apple wants to avoid using a third-party vendor for modems in the future. But, because that is unlikely to happen until at least 2030, 5G still has some life in it. Apple may have to extend its agreement with the current supplier due to its current problems.

Qualcomm comes to the rescue

Qualcomm manufactures the 5G modems that Apple currently employs. A 5G processor powers the iPhone 15 series. This processor is also used in many Android devices. It’s also a corporation that knows Apple wants to get rid of it as quickly as feasible.

Qualcomm knows Apple needs its chips. But their failed in-house 5G project made things worse.

Apple has agreed to continue using Qualcomm’s products on iPhones until 2026. But, considering the current problems with 5G, we will need to extend it again. It’s unclear how much it will cost, but Apple might not have its usual strong bargaining power.

6G, it appears, might be very valuable if Apple gets it. Money that would otherwise end up in Qualcomm’s pockets.

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