Two new companies want a piece of Apple's 5G modem business
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Two firms are reportedly competing to handle the final packaging of Apple's in-house 5G modem for future iPhone models.
Apple currently uses 5G modems supplied by Qualcomm, with that partnership expected to end with the 2023 iPhone 15 lineup. After years of development, and an expectation to introduce a product using its own design of modem, Apple still has to organize producing the component.
At least two companies are lining up to handle packaging duties for the modem chips, according to DigiTimes. ASE Technology and Amkor Technology won't handle manufacturing the modem chips themselves, but will handle the final assembly of the component for introduction into the assembly supply chain.
The two firms do have some experience working on modems, having done so for Qualcomm already, which could bode well for the initial Apple modem release.
It is still unclear who will actually produce the modem chips. Though TSMC is a chip producer working on Apple's A-series chips and Apple Silicon, and is a strong contender for modem chip manufacturing, it's still possible that it could be made by another foundry.
DigiTimes has a decent track record when it comes to rumors, but while its supply chain leaks and reports are usually fairly solid, it has less luck when it comes to specifications.
Apple has been intending to make 5G chipsets for a number of years, as it weans itself off dependency on Qualcomm's modem lineup. In 2019, it paid a billion dollars for Intel's modem business, which helped accelerate development of the component.
Rumors in January alleged the iPhone SE 4 had been cancelled, due to it being intended as a testbed for the chips that apparently tested poorly. However, by the end of February, the iPhone SE 4 was apparently revived, with Apple's 5G modem still onboard.