Apple’s 5G iPhone modem is at least three years away – report

Apple hopes to have an iPhone 5G powered by a homemade modem by 2022, according to a Fast Company report on Friday.

The company is currently working on a 5G modem solution based upon the intellectual property it acquired from Intel earlier this year, but that won’t be ready for another three years, according to the report.

Even having the tech ready for the 2022 iPhones is dubbed an “aggressive timeline” by the source, due to the required development, testing, and certification work necessary to bring the component to fruition.

That doesn’t mean iPhone lovers will have to wait another three years for a 5G capable handset. In the meantime, Apple is likely to use Qualcomm modems as a go between. The two American companies mended fences earlier this year after a patent spat that saw some iPhone models temporarily banned from sale in Germany.

Apple agreed to settle what Qualcomm out of court, which involved a cash payment, a multi-year patent licensing agreement and a chipset supply deal.

Shortly after the agreement, Apple snapped up Intel’s smartphone modem division, taking on more than 2,000 employees in the process and forking over $1 billion. Also part of the deal was intellectual property and equipment from Intel.

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At the time, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said: “Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group, and know they’ll thrive in Apple’s creative and dynamic environment. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”

That made it clear Apple was focused on bringing its own 5G modem to the iPhone, but that isn’t going to happen over night. Apple took a calculated gamble by hanging fire on a 5G iPhone release in 2019, as fledgling networks begin to provide service around the developed world. That’s expected to change next year.

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