In the latest edition of his “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple is increasingly turning its attention to 6G, even though it’s still having problems developing its own 5G modem as planned. He says that “there are a few things at play here”:
- One, Apple is racing to get its modem finished so it doesn’t need to re-up a contract (again) to buy the component from Qualcomm Inc. The two companies have feuded over the years, and Apple really doesn’t want to rely on Qualcomm for this vital iPhone part. Further delays also would be seen as an admission of failure.
- Modems are extremely difficult to develop and require testing globally. They’re also utterly essential to operating a phone. If Apple’s modem comes to market and doesn’t work well, it will be the biggest black eye of Tim Cook’s tenure as chief executive officer.
- Finally, bringing this component in-house would give Apple more control over the technology and potentially offer financial benefits. That’s why the company is pursuing this strategy. But unlike some of Apple’s homegrown chips — the M series and A series — the modem isn’t likely to bring a big boost in performance. That might make the switch more of a marketing challenge.
However, Gurman says that we shouldn’t get too excited just year. “The 6G standard isn’t expected until 2030 at the earliest, and it’s still not even clear how much faster it will be than 5G,” he notes.
This info from Gurman is from the free edition of “Power On”. If you like it, consider subscribing to Bloomberg.com—you’ll receive the newsletter earlier and get exclusive access to a Q&A section.