Apple’s homegrown modem project is a spectacular failure – so far

Apple’s homegrown modem project is a spectacular failure – so far

Insanely great, Apple’s multi-year project to build its own modem is not; other than at incinerating untold billions of dollars, that is.

Aaron Tilley and Yang Jie for The Wall Street Journal:

The 2018 marching orders from Apple increase; green up pointing triangle Chief Executive Tim Cook to design and build a modem chip—a part that connects iPhones to wireless carriers—led to the hiring of thousands of engineers. The goal was to sever Apple’s grudging dependence on Qualcomm, a longtime chip supplier that dominates the modem market.

The obstacles to finishing the chip were largely of Apple’s own making, according to former company engineers and executives familiar with the project… Apple executives who didn’t have experience with wireless chips set tight timelines that weren’t realistic, former project engineers said.

Apple had planned to have its modem chip ready to use in the new iPhone models. But tests late last year found the chip was too slow and prone to overheating. Its circuit board was so big it would take up half an iPhone, making it unusable… Executives better understood the challenge after Apple tested its prototypes late last year. The results weren’t good, according to people familiar with the tests. The chips were essentially three years behind Qualcomm’s best modem chip.

Investors had counted on Apple saving money with an in-house chip to help compensate for weak demand in the larger smartphone market. Apple — which hasn’t publicly acknowledged its modem project, much less its shortcomings — is estimated to have paid more than $7.2 billion to Qualcomm last year for the chips…

MacDailyNews Take: And so the bloodsucking Qualcomm extortionists keep on extorting, but, eventually, someday, Apple will get there. The company certainly has the money and the will and, now – maybe – a clearer idea, focused by failure, of what it will take to finally achieve the goal.

See also:
• Why can’t Apple manage to make its own modems? – September 11, 2023
• Qualcomm to supply Apple with 5G modems through 2026 – September 11, 2023

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