- Apple’s latest iPhone 14 models use Qualcomm modems, but the company has been looking to go solo in the wireless connectivity market for a few years.
- It bought Intel’s modem business in 2019, and there had been speculation that it would start using in-house parts this year.
- Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon also addressed the US lawsuit against Qualcomm by British semiconductor firm Arm.
Apple is moving to in-house 5G modem chips for its 2024 iPhones, as far as the CEO of Qualcomm — which currently manufactures them for the tech giant — is aware.
“We’re not making any plans for 2024, my planning assumption is that we won’t deliver (Apple) a modem in ’24, but that’s their decision to make,” Cristiano Amon told CNBC at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Apple’s latest iPhone 14 models use Qualcomm modems, but the company has been looking to go solo in the wireless connectivity market for a few years.
It bought Intel’s modem business in 2019, and there had been speculation that it would start using in-house parts this year.
In an interview with CNBC’s Karen Tso and Arjun Kharpal, Amon said Qualcomm had told investors back in 2021 that it didn’t expect to offer modems for the iPhone in 2023, but Apple then decided to hold off for another year.
Amon did not confirm whether Apple would pay Qualcomm QTL licenses if it moves to its own modems, but said royalties were “independent of providing a chip.”
Qualcomm has diversified its business into semiconductors for automotive and low-power applications.
Amon also addressed the US lawsuit against Qualcomm by British semiconductor company Arm. The legal battle between two of the world’s biggest chip designers comes as Qualcomm seeks to grow in the PC market; to do so, it bought a company called Nuvia, whose server chips are based on Arm architecture.
Arm claims it needs a license to use the chip designs and is seeking damages and forcing Qualcomm to destroy various information and hardware related to the purchase.
“It’s very unfortunate, this lawsuit, but the reality is that we have very broad rights to Arm IP, one of their early licensees,” Amon said. “We feel pretty good about a solution, and we’re just moving forward with our plans. And all of our customers are very excited about what we’re doing in this area.”
On a Wall Street Journal report that the US government is considering revoking export licenses for US suppliers to Huawei, Amon said: “We have licenses to sell 4G chips to Huawei. We comply through our license, but we have not seen no action yet.”
He called the US Chips and Science Act a “great thing” that had encouraged companies such as TSMC and Samsung to build facilities in the country.
A revocation of the license would result in a financial blow to Qualcomm, he said, but stressed that the company was more diversified, supplying companies including Samsung, Opal and Honor with modems and growing in cars and the Internet of Things.