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Leak claims Apple scrapped its 5G iPhone modem plans

Published Nov 29th, 2023 8:13AM EST
iPhone 12 5G
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple’s plans to use its own 5G modem on a future iPhone model might have been scrapped for good. After a few reports saying the company was postponing the release of its 5G modem due to development issues, it seems Cupertino is entirely giving it all up for now.

According to Korean blog Naver user yeux1122, with X user Tech_Reve corroborating, a company’s source told them that Apple has entered the phase of “reorganizing its ongoing investment in its own 5G modem development department” as the idea of bringing this technology to the iPhone SE 4 “appear to have failed and are expected to be completely eliminated.”

While it’s unclear if that means Apple will only phase out the development of its 5G modem for the iPhone SE 4 or entirely, we still have to see.

Previously, Bloomberg reported that Apple aimed to release its 5G modem as soon as the end of 2025 or early 2026. Before that, the company thought it could release the first iteration by the spring of 2025.

The publication said, “Thousands of employees have worked on the project since 2018, and still, Apple remains years away from cracking the problem.” The main issue is that Cupertino needs to “seamlessly link up with hundreds of carriers around the world, working across varied environments and conditions,” which Qualcomm has been doing for years now.

Originally, Apple planned to introduce its first 5G modem with an iPhone in 2024, most likely the iPhone SE 4. This version wouldn’t feature the modern mmWave technology, as it’s more complex to develop, and it also represents lower sales than the company’s high-end iPhones.

But a day before Apple introduced the iPhone 15 models, Qualcomm announced it would partner with Cupertino for at least 2026 to offer the company its 5G modems.

Apple’s ultimate goal is to offer an all-in-one chip that would handle cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivities, but the company is also struggling with this project.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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