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Jul 25, 2019

There have been rumors of Apple working on their own cellular modems for years. Those are the radios that phones and other gear use to connect to carrier networks like AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Vodafone, and all the rest.

They’re mainly LTE right now but 5G is on the horizon and they’re already speccing out 6G beyond that. So, it’s a critical part of the hardware we all use every day and Apple likes to control all of those parts.

The rumors picked up recently when Apple settled with Qualcomm, the biggest modem maker in the game, and Intel, who’d been providing Apple with modems during the spat, announced they’d be getting out of the business now that the other two had made up.

But that left Intel’s modem portfolio up for grabs. And, much like Apple once bought PA Semi, licensed ARM’s IP, and began making custom A-Series chipsets for iPhones and iPads, the rumor here is that Apple will buy that modem business, license Qualcomm IP, and begin making custom modems as well.

To help me sort the facts from the wishful thinking, I’ve got Ben Bajarin on the line. Principle at Creative Strategies and founder of TechPinions.