Apple has stopped developing its own Wi-Fi chip

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According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company has halted the development of its Wi-Fi chip. The creation of the Wi-Fi chip that Apple created has currently “stalled,” and according to Kuo, Apple will delay “for a while.”

Therefore, Wi-Fi chips will continue to be provided by Apple’s supplier Broadcom for the foreseeable future, including the chips for the forthcoming iPhone 15 models scheduled for delivery in 2023.

The earliest report about Apple’s development of a Wi-Fi chip came from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in January, who claimed that the company was developing a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip that would take the place of Broadcom-sourced parts. At the time, Gurman stated that Apple planned to start using its own processors in 2024 and eventually replace Broadcom components by 2025.

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Kuo, developing a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip is “more difficult than just a Wi-Fi-only chip”

Keep in mind that the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip is distinct from the 5G modem chip that Apple is also developing to replace Qualcomm-based technologies. Apple’s ultimate objective is to manufacture a greater number of the crucial parts for the iPhone internally, minimizing its reliance on outside businesses.

Apple is attempting to replace Qualcomm’s radio-frequency processors and chips for wireless charging and eventually intends to develop a chip that integrates the cellular modem, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth functionalities into one.

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According to Kuo, Apple had already developed a Wi-Fi alone processor rather than the speculated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combination chip. For Apple, combining the two technologies is more difficult.

More particular, Apple had previously developed a Wi-Fi-only chip rather than a Wi-Fi+Bluetooth combo chip for Wi-Fi solutions. Design-wise, creating a Wi-Fi+Bluetooth combination chip is more difficult than creating a Wi-Fi-only semiconductor. It would be difficult for Apple to replace Broadcom’s combination chips with its own since the majority of Apple’s devices employ them.

Because Apple intends to concentrate its chip design efforts on the cutting-edge 3-nanometer circuits that are expected to power future iPhones and other devices, work on a Wi-Fi chip has been put on hold. Kuo claims that this is why both the Wi-Fi and Apple’s 5G chips are being produced in large quantities later than planned due to “insufficient development resources.”

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As standards change and Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 are accepted, according to Kuo, it will be dangerous for Apple to employ its own Wi-Fi chips over the next two to three years. For the time being, Kuo believes Apple will start using Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 chips in its products, which will be advantageous for Broadcom.

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