Apple wants to develop its own iPhone modems

The Intel XMM 8100 5G modem

Citing unnamed people familiar with the move, Reuters reports that Apple's efforts to build its own modem chips is now being handled by its hardware technology division.

Modems are an indispensable part of phones and other mobile devices, connecting them to wireless data networks. According to reports, the company has asked Johny Srouji, its VP hardware technologies, to oversee the modem design.

Previously Apple's modem chip business was led by Ruben Caballero, who reported to Dan Riccio, the executive responsible for iPad, iPhone, and Mac engineering.

Srouji has been with Apple since 2008, when he joined to head up development of Apple's first in-house processor, the A4, his biography on Apple.com reads.

You may recall the reports in the media, including in these columns of a job advertisement that attracted attention some time back where Apple had called for designers of cellular modems.

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Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's no secret that Apple has an in-house team dedicated to building future 5G cellular modems that would be used in its iPhone and iPad/iPad Pro product lines - and perhaps even future MacBooks. Technology publication The Information previously reported that Apple was working to develop its own modem chip.

"I believe that Apple is expanding their presence in San Diego to primarily bolster their wireless capabilities, especially their efforts to build their own modems".

Its dispute with Qualcomm seems to have pushed Apple towards developing its own modem in-house so it no longer has to rely on external suppliers. "These efforts have always been known to be an interest to Apple and the company has long appeared to be aiming for the 5G timeframe to make it possible", wrote Anshel Sag, a consumer and chip tech analyst at research and consulting firm Moor Insights & Strategy, in response to questions on the topic.

Though Apple designs and commissions the manufacturing of the iPhone's high-performing A Series chipsets, plenty of other components inside of Apple's phones are bought from other companies. It says that Apple could benefit by combining its modem chips with the processor to save space and improve battery life, which would be "two important considerations if Apple introduces augmented reality features into future products".

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