Apple is reportedly planning to partner with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to produce its own 5G modems for future iPhone devices.
According to Nikkei, Apple is said to be planning to use TSMC’s 4nm process node, which hasn’t been deployed for any commercial products yet; The modem is apparently being designed and tested on 5nm before going into mass production on 4nm in 2023.
Apple’s switch to modems of its own design is widely expected to happen in 2023, and TSMC is the natural manufacturing partner.
Qualcomm, which is the dominant player in the industry and produces modem components for the entire iPhone 13 lineup, recently said it expected to account for just 20 percent of iPhone modem orders in two years’ time.
Apple bought Intel’s 5G modem division in 2019, marking the last switch. Earlier that year Qualcomm and Apple agreed to end a costly modem technology patent dispute, with Qualcomm receiving more than $4 billion (about Rs 29,750 crore) as part of the settlement.
TSMC is the manufacturer of the M1 system-on-chip for all iPhone A-series processors and Mac computers.
There are hundreds of TSMC engineers in Cupertino to work with Apple’s chip development team.
The 2022 iPhone SoCs will reportedly use TSMC’s 4nm process, and some iPad models are said to adopt 3nm processors in 2023.