According to a report by Fast Company, Apple has set a 2022 deadline to produce a custom 5G modem as part of a a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design which will be used in future iPhones as well as iPads.
Fast Company reports that all the development, testing and certifications that are necessary will be done by Apple and the new 5G SoC modem be in all new iPhones by the 2022 deadline which is a very aggressive goal.
According to the Fast Company source, that goal is ‘really pushing it,’ considering that after the chip is designed and built, the testing and certification process required will be challenging and will be tough to accomplish in two years.
Some issues that may be pressure points in meeting the deadline are the testing for network optimization which is necessary to ensure that the 5G SoC modem will not conflict with the wireless networks of other carriers. As well, global standards will have to be met and therefore tested not to mention it will have to meet FCC requirements.
With those possible hurdles to overcome, Fast Company thinks that a more realistic deadline for Apple’s custom 5G SoC modem would be 2023.
In June, Apple acquired the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business with having its own plans of speeding up its development of its own in-house 5G modem. An earlier source reported that Apple is planning to have an in-house chip available to be placed in some of its products by the year 2021. Even earlier, sources had reported that the timeframe could really be between 2022 and 2025.
Irregardless of what Apple’s time frame is or whether the iPhone maker will be able to stick to the deadline, the transition the company will be making to the custom 5G SoC modem will most likely come in stages and probably begin with the lower-end, older models of its devices.
Actually, Apple really doesn’t have to rush the process. The company has a multiyear chipset supply deal with Qualcomm, the San Diego, CA chip manufacturer. And Apple also has a six-year patent license agreement.
While Apple works hard to overcome all hurdles to meet its 2022 deadline for its new custom 5G SoC modem, the company will continue to use Qualcomm’s chips for its first 5G readied iPhones in 2020.