After buying Intel’s 5G modem business earlier this year, Apple is wasting no time building its own 5G modem for the iPhone. The company is pushing to have its modem in iPhones by 2022, a very aggressive timeline given all the development, testing, and certification work involved, a new report by Fast Company claims.
Part of the reason Apple began working with Intel on modems in the first place was that it hoped to create a “system on a chip” design, where an Intel modem would be integrated into a single chip with Apple’s applications processor and other chips. Such tight integration would yield dividends in modem speed and power efficiency.
However, Apple’s work with Intel never got that far. But now that Apple essentially owns the Intel modem technology it will very likely move toward baking the new 5G modem into an Apple SoC.
Fast Company believes that a rock star RF engineer named Esin Terzioglu is now leading the 5G modem development at Apple. Terzioglu came to Apple from Qualcomm, where he was VP of Engineering.
A Fast Company source tells them that the SoC integration may not happen right away. Given the tight time frame for delivering a modem in 2022, Apple may choose to make its first 5G modem a stand-alone chip, and then integrate it into an SoC the following year. For more, read the full Fast Company report
The news isn't all that new. Back in July Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple has an Aggressive Roadmap for 5G Modems and may begin Limited Market Testing in Products as soon as 2021.”