Apple has hired TSMC to create a unique 5G modem for the iPhone.

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Apple wants to cut down on its Qualcomm reliance.

According to reports, Apple has chosen Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to manufacture 5G modems for future iPhones. It’s unknown when the new hardware will be available for purchase, but we’ve heard it’ll be produced using TSMC’s 4nm technology in 2023.

Sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia that Apple aims to use TSMC’s 4nm manufacturing process for its first in-house 5G modem. The people added that Apple is also working on its own radio frequency and millimeter wave components to complement the 5G modem, with others noting that the iPhone maker is also developing its own power management chip for the modem.

Apple up to this point has relied on modem hardware from Qualcomm for 5G connectivity in its iPhones.

Apple has been looking to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm for a while now, going so far as to purchase Intel’s 5G modem business in mid-2019. Not having to rely on a supplier like Qualcomm for this vital component would not only save Apple money, it would enable Cupertino to boost efficiency through better hardware integration.

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Curiously enough, Apple will use TSMC’s 5nm process to design and test-produce the chip, before switching to the more advanced 4nm tech later in the process. The publication notes that commercialization isn’t expected until 2023, although it’s unclear if the new chip would ship in iPhones that year or the next.

Image credit Sahej Brar


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