Apple reportedly won't have its own 5G iPhone chip until 2025
The company has mentioned that date to prospective hires for an in-house 5G modem team, says a report.
Corinne ReichertSenior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
That includes the key modems that connect iPhones to mobile networks. The company has been hiring engineers for the project in an effort to build 5G chips, one of the most expensive and complicated parts of a smartphone.
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Citing an anonymous source, The Information said that "in interviews with prospective hires for the team, Apple has told engineers that they expect to have their own modem ready by 2025."
After years of work on 5G networks, hyped as the life-changing foundation for augmented reality, telemedicine and other tech trends, the superfast wireless technology is finally going live around the globe. Carriers are turning on their networks, and virtually every major Android handset maker has touted plans to launch a 5G device this year. Apple hasn't.
The supply agreement will allow Apple to release a 5G iPhone -- but not before 2020.
At the time Intel announced plans to bail on 5G, CEO Bob Swan confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that his company's decision to exit the 5G phone modem business was due to Apple and Qualcomm.
"In light of the announcement of Apple and Qualcomm, we assessed the prospects for us to make money while delivering this technology for smartphones and concluded at the time that we just didn't see a path," Swan told the Journal.
Some publications have also pointed to rumors that Apple is looking to buy Intel's 5G phone modem business, but other reports have said the two companies couldn't reach a deal.
Apple and Intel didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.