Apple Ventures into 6G Modem Development Amidst the Ongoing 5G Pursuit
In a strategic move, Apple is reportedly delving into the realm of 6G modem development alongside its ongoing efforts to establish an in-house 5G modem. While Apple currently relies on Qualcomm for 5G modems, the tech giant’s exploration of 6G technology signals a forward-looking approach.
According to insights shared in the PowerOn newsletter by tech analyst Mark Gurman, Apple initiated its foray into 6G modem development in 2021. Despite the anticipated arrival of 6G networks around 2030, Apple’s early involvement in this space positions the company to meticulously craft, test, and optimise its 6G technology over the coming years. This strategic move not only aligns with Apple’s pursuit of self-reliance but also grants the company enhanced control over hardware elements, offering potential long-term financial benefits.
Developing modems represents a challenging task due to the rigorous testing required across global networks. With successful ventures into chip development for various devices like iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs, the 6G modem becomes the final piece in Apple’s comprehensive hardware puzzle.
As part of its 6G ambitions, Apple is actively seeking a cellular platform architect who can spearhead the development of 6G reference architecture, lead prototype creation, and conduct experiments to evaluate potential 6G technology candidates. This recruitment effort emphasises Apple’s commitment to advancing its in-house capabilities in the cellular technology domain.
While Apple continues its pursuit of 5G technology, the collaboration with Qualcomm remains integral. Despite occasional conflicts, Apple renewed its licencing agreement with Qualcomm in September 2023, securing the latter as the exclusive provider of 5G modems for iPhones until 2026.
The anticipation surrounding 6G technology centres on its potential to redefine connectivity. With projected ultra-low latency and significantly higher data transfer speeds compared to 5G, 6G could theoretically offer up to 11 Gbps of uplink speed. This leap in performance has the potential to revolutionise the user experience across connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Apple’s early engagement in 6G development underscores the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological innovation.