Apple is a company that likes control, which is why the company has long preferred to own all of the underlying technologies that go into its products. This approach is what compelled Apple to start designing its own processors for the iPhone. Further, Apple’s appetite for control is why rumors that the company may ultimately do away with Intel processors on the Mac should be taken seriously.
In light of that, a wild new report from The Information relays that Apple has been busy working on developing its own cellular modem technology for future iterations of the iPhone. Interestingly, Apple’s work in this area reportedly can be traced back to the company’s ongoing legal dispute with Qualcomm over iPhone royalty payments. Incidentally, Apple has since dropped Qualcomm as a modem supplier and now relies on Intel for its cellular modems needs.
Of course, developing a cellular modem for a device like the iPhone requires a herculean effort and it’s not something we can expect to see anytime soon. Indeed, with reports indicating that Apple will still use Intel modems when it makes the transition to 5G in 2020, we’re still a good few years away from seeing an Apple branded modem show up in an iPhone. Apple, though, has never been afraid to play the long game and has shown a willingness to develop proprietary technology that may not even come into play a number of years later.
As to the evidence Apple is working on developing its own cellular modems, The Information relays the following:
In a job listing posted a week ago, which hasn’t previously been reported, the company said it is looking for a cellular modem systems architect to work in its San Diego office. And a person briefed on Apple’s plans confirmed that the company, indeed, has an active project to build its own cellular modem chip, which connects Apple’s phones to the networks of wireless carriers.
Not surprisingly, Apple’s efforts here will require the company to hire hundreds, if not thousands, of engineers from companies like Qualcomm. To this point, you may recall that Apple last year hired Qualcomm Engineering VP Esin Terzioglu.
For as often as pundits like to say that the iPhone has peaked, and that Apple’s days as an innovation leader are over, the evidence clearly shows that there’s still a lot to look forward to.