Apple Reportedly Working on a Custom Cellular Modem, Could Launch in Three Years

Apple has been relying on custom-built pieces within a lot of its products for quite some time, including within the Apple Watch, and, perhaps most importantly, with the A-series chips within the iPhone and iPad lineups.

And it sounds like that effort will be expanding to cellular modems as well. At least, that’s according to a new report from The Information, which was published on Wednesday that sheds some light on Apple’s plans, even if the details are still pretty light at this point. While the report is based on information ascertained from unnamed sources, it also relies on a new job posting that Apple published last week, which is focused on finding a cellular modem systems architect.

“Now Apple has provided the clearest evidence yet that it is working on one of the most complicated and expensive hardware ingredients in its devices: a cellular modem. In a job listing posted a week ago, which hasn’t previously been reported, the company said it is looking for a cellular modem systems architect to work in its San Diego office.”

The unnamed sources said that this is an active project within Apple, which indicates that Apple is, at least for now, setting its sights on launching its own cellular modem at some point in the future. Still, the report states that it may be three years from now before we see the fruits of that labor in an iPhone or iPad down the road.

Apple is currently relying on Intel for its cellular modems in its current lineup of iPhones. And considering the legal battle that Apple is in with Qualcomm, it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Indeed, rumor has it that Apple will be using a 5G modem from Intel in 2020 for its iPhones.

The news that Apple is building its own cellular modem isn’t surprising in the slightest. Apple has been working in this direction ever since it unveiled its first A-series processor. And now we have M-series and W-series chips out there. A cellular modem, even though complicated in its own right, just felt like a no-brainer.

Hopefully that means we get a cellular version of the MacBook at some point, too.

[via The Information]