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Apple's 2023 iPhone could ditch Qualcomm and launch with its own 5G chip

Purple iPhone
(Image credit: Apple)

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple is set to introduce its own 5G baseband chip to iPhone models as soon as 2023, leaving Qualcomm modems behind.

As stated in an investor's note (via MacRumors), Kuo believes Apple's custom-designed 5G baseband chip will replace the current line of Qualcomm 5G modems found in the iPhone 12. While not certain, the analyst predicts we could see the new chips in 2023 "at the earliest."

This backs up Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis's and Thomas O'Malley's prediction that the Apple-designed 5G modem will appear in 2023. Previous reports have already indicated Apple was designing its own 5G chip since 2020, and it even looked like the tech giant was trying to nab a few engineers from Qualcomm.

Apple already swapped Intel chips in its latest line of MacBook models (and now the upcoming iPad Pro 2021) for its own M1 chip with great success. With this in mind, developing its own 5G chip is looking to be a step in the right direction.

While it is uncertain how an Apple-developed 5G baseband chip would gain the upperhand over a Qualcomm chip, we could at least see a big boost in battery life. Currently, the iPhone 12 lineup has been experiencing issues with 5G connectivity, as turning it on drains the smartphone's battery life. 

Apple 5G and beyond

According to job listings posted earlier this year, Apple is already working on the next generation of wireless technology: 6G. However, we won't see its own 6G cellular system for a number of years.

While 5G has only recently been let out into the wild, it was already in development as early as 2008 thanks to a 5G R&D program in South Korea and NASA helping to develop Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology and the 5G tech to go with it.

5G still hasn't fully been utilized seeing as the first line of 5G smartphones, such as the iPhone 12, has only recently been released. 5G offers a massive upgrade over 4G, from miles faster connectivity and being able to share unlimited quantities of data.

For now, we're still in its early days, and there is no official announcement stating that Apple's own 5G modem will be introduced with the iPhone in 2023. If you're a fan of fast connectivity, you'll find some of the best smartphones on the market are equipped with 5G.