Newspaper articles regarding Apple’s in-house Wi-Fi chips have been common. These articles have suggested that Apple may create its own Wi-Fi chips in 2025 and that MediaTek might get into Apple’s supply chain through niche items like Apple TV. There are Wi-Fi chips in the new iPhone 17.
Apple wants to dominate the supply chain for Wi-Fi chips. However, industry insiders told Digitimes that given the multiple technical obstacles and the current rumored advancement, Apple will have a difficult time releasing a self-developed Wi-Fi chip in 2025.
There are rumors that Apple is making significant investments in creating its own Wi-Fi chips in addition to purchasing 5G modem chips. However, the team was reorganized when the project hit roadblocks and stopped for a while. When combined with Apple’s ongoing partnership with Qualcomm to build 5G modem chips, it demonstrates how difficult it is to surpass competitors in the wireless chip market.
According to industry insiders, patented technologies and extensive experience in the field of wireless connections are possessed by mainstream market businesses like Qualcomm and Broadcom. The entrance hurdles are very high for both wireless and wired network chips.
Apple’s primary Wi-Fi chip source is still Broadcom. Consequently, the market believes that Broadcom would be the first to suffer if Apple switches to in-house Wi-Fi chips in 2025. Despite this, the industry is not very confident in Apple’s in-house designed Wi-Fi processors. Not only does Broadcom dominate the smartphone Wi-Fi market, but it leads the whole Wi-Fi industry. Indeed, Apple faces a great deal of difficulty in trying to outperform Broadcom’s devices so quickly.
Integrated circuit design industry sources pointed out that introducing self-developed chips into non-mainstream applications first would have been a wiser course of action for Apple. But according to all the claims, Apple will be integrating Wi-Fi processors and 5G modems straight into the iPhone.
Put another way, to prevent hurting iPhone sales, Apple’s in-house chips need to match the connectivity performance and power consumption of Broadcom and Qualcomm chips. This objective looks a little too ambitious.
Industry experts predict that Apple won’t be able to create a workable wireless network chip very soon unless it can assemble or hire an excellent team and devote significant funds to research and development. From a different angle, it is also debatable if it is more economical to purchase than to put in so much work for non-core chips that are available externally.
Market participants advised that instead of becoming sidetracked by different peripheral chips, Apple should think about concentrating its primary resources on high-performance processor chips to guarantee it stays competitive in the age of high-speed computing.