Once again, Apple is reportedly hitting a roadblock with its upcoming 5G modem development, as Cupertino aims to replace the Qualcomm chip in a future iPhone model. According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple now aims to release its 5G modem as soon as the end of 2025 or early 2026. Previously, the company thought it could release the first iteration by the spring of 2025.
The publication says that “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. That said, I think Cupertino should keep investing and delaying this project, as it needs to be 110% ready. Otherwise, Apple will relive its Maps fiasco.
It’s good that Apple keeps delaying its 5G modem announcement
Back in WWDC 2012, Apple unveiled the first version of its Maps, finally ditching Google Maps. When it finally launched, it was a terror for the company, as its map solution wasn’t accurate and lacked tons of details.
This failed release cost the job of Apple’s former SVP Scott Forstall, one of the most important inventors of the iPhone. Cupertino took years to catch up with Google. And even though its competitor is still years ahead, Apple Maps is proving to be better in certain locations of the world.
That said, if Apple isn’t cautious about its upcoming 5G modem, the company might face iPhones overheating, having their battery draining faster, incompatibility with some carriers across the globe, lack of signal, and so much more.
Apple can’t afford another fiasco with its flagship device, and a hardware issue can only be fixed with a new version, not a software update.
BGR will keep reporting on Apple’s latest efforts to build its 5G modem.