Apple's self-made modem is a massive challenge, but with big rewards at stake

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple's move towards creating its own modems could revolutionize how it produces mobile devices like the rumored Apple Glass, but only if it can match or exceed the performance of its existing modem supplier, Qualcomm.




Following an unexpected settlement with Qualcomm in 2019 to end patent infringement legal action, Apple has been a major client of the modem maker's products. However, with Apple working on its own modems, the days of using Qualcomm's communications hardware may be numbered.

In a Saturday profile of Apple's modem efforts, the Wall Street Journal outlines the challenge Apple faces in creating modems that are good enough for Apple to use instead of Qualcomm's version.

The rewards are numerous, including 5G in items like the MacBook Pro and extremely fast speeds for iPhones. For future hardware augmented reality headsets and smart glasses could benefit from the fast speeds, with the former needing high bandwidth but minimal latency to be worthwhile.

Apple's work in the field was bolstered by the acquisition of most of Intel's smartphone modem business and the onboarding of some 2,200 engineers, but Apple continues to expand its talent pool in the field.

Approximately 140 job postings based in an Apple office in San Diego, the hometown of Qualcomm, center around the creation of cellular chips. Meanwhile a satellite engineering office in Irvine, California has around 20 similar open positions, potentially to try and tempt employees of Broadcom over to the company.

Current expectations has Apple moving to its own modems from 2023, with TSMC expected to be the producer of the chips for the iPhone maker.

Making its own modem offers Apple advantages in a number of areas, including cost-savings and a reduction in reliance from suppliers like Qualcomm, which Apple has a tension-filled relationship with, CCS Insight senior director of research Wayne Lam told the report.

The ability to fine-tune the modem for Apple's intended purposes is also a big benefit, as it could adjust the modem to work in specific ways for one product, but in others to be more effective for another item.

As for what this could look like, the report points to Apple Silicon's impact, which involved high power efficiency chips that out-performed Intel's alternates. Lam offers the same sort of design improvements could improve the connectivity of smaller devices like the Apple Watch.

However, Tantra Analyst founder Prakash Sangam offers that "in some ways a modem is more complex" than a processor like the M1, in part due to the complexity of dealing with many circumstances that can affect a signal. This could make it harder for Apple to produce, increasing the relative development time.

"If you throw enough time and resources and money at it, it can be done," says Sangam. "But whether they can do it by 2023, I don't think anyone other than Apple can say."

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    The good thing for companies like Qualcomm is that it would be really rare that Apple sells its modems to other companies.

    Maybe, Qualcomm will feel embarased like Intel with the M1 chips… but the rest of the communication market will still buy from them.

    And as far as I remember there is an office in Berlin doing also work on the modem… or maybe the chips.
    Beatsviclauyyclolliver
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 174member
    Thank you for this insider look. I have been following AI since 1997. This kind of story is what AI used to give once a week. This is the first excellent future looking story I’ve read here in over a year. The person who wrote this needs to be in charge of AI. The rest of the stories are for morons..
    darkvaderapplguyviclauyycMplsP
  • Reply 3 of 28
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 380member
    Fred257 said:
    Thank you for this insider look. I have been following AI since 1997. This kind of story is what AI used to give once a week. This is the first excellent future looking story I’ve read here in over a year. The person who wrote this needs to be in charge of AI. The rest of the stories are for morons..
    Curious how many "future looking stories" you think there are on a daily basis to be written at AI?  Do you want every story to be one?  If there aren't any that day (or week, or month) should the pages of AI remain unchanged and stale?  
    edited April 30 ravnorodomscstrrflollivermuthuk_vanalingamradarthekat
  • Reply 4 of 28
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,844member
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    ravnorodomviclauyyc
  • Reply 5 of 28
    raymondairaymondai Posts: 33member
    I think Apple “re-invent” a xG modem is not a big thing, the powerful punch is they integrate the modem into the A-chip or M-chips, the table may turnaround. 
    ravnorodomscstrrf
  • Reply 6 of 28
    glnfglnf Posts: 34member
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    scstrrfrotateleftbytedewmedesignrradarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 28
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,212member
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    ravnorodomdewmedesignrradarthekatMplsP
  • Reply 8 of 28
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    jas99Beatsmelgrosstmayjibradarthekatwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 28
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,212member
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 


    muthuk_vanalingamMplsP
  • Reply 10 of 28
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 277member
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 


    Have to agree with Avon B7, who was merely pointing out the hurdles that Apple faces which make developing its own modem a big challenge, bigger even than development of the M1. There's no day late/dollar short criticism of Apple at all. 
    sconosciutoradarthekatwilliamlondonMplsPblastdoor
  • Reply 11 of 28
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,009member
    charlesn said:
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 


    Have to agree with Avon B7, who was merely pointing out the hurdles that Apple faces which make developing its own modem a big challenge, bigger even than development of the M1. There's no day late/dollar short criticism of Apple at all. 


    It gets old when everything Apple does is “impossible” and when Apple finally pulls the impossible and the entire industry follows the same people say “well, the industry was going that way anyway. Big deal.”  
    danoxlolliverradarthekatwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 28
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,252member
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    edited May 1 Beatsmacplusplusdesignrmuthuk_vanalingamMplsPblastdoor
  • Reply 13 of 28
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,239member
    charlesn said:
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 


    Have to agree with Avon B7, who was merely pointing out the hurdles that Apple faces which make developing its own modem a big challenge, bigger even than development of the M1. There's no day late/dollar short criticism of Apple at all. 
    I'll pile on to your support of Avon B7. Anything that broadcasts over the air and has to interoperate with existing standards, conform to national and global regulations, and has a massive installed base to support has to confirm exactly to those standards and regulations. With the M1 Apple has a great deal of flexibility about how it implements internal details and private interfaces with its own proprietary system components. We've already seen Apple exercise this freedom with the proprietary memory modules in the Mac Studio.

    Apple can do anything it wants within the boundaries of the system that they own. When it comes to telecommunications Apple does not own the system, they are just one player in a much larger system.

    I get your point about asserting that Apple undoubtedly has the technical chops and "smarts" to take on very complex technical challenges. But being smart is not enough. They also need problem domain and subject matter expertise, experienced and knowledgable staff ready to go, and design and manufacturing resources available "yesterday" that have been working towards solving the kind of highly specialized problems they are facing to build their own modem.

    Apple can certainly grow or buy everything they need to get to where they need to be. However, it takes time and money and lessons learned along the way, exactly what this Apple Insider article is laying out in good detail, to get there. Simply having a bunch of really smart people on staff, all of whom are already heavily engaged in solving other big problems that need solutions, is not enough.

    This is a high bar for Apple to get over. Simply being good enough or comparable to what they are getting from Qualcomm isn't going to cut it for Apple. Just like the M1 and Intel, they have to be significantly better to really make it worth the huge time, effort, and money needed to solve this with engineering versus solving this with business negotiation. Apple could negotiate with to Qualcomm cut its prices or give Apple more favorable terms for timing, deliverables, and volumes. Once Apple decides to take on the huge engineering effort on their own this becomes a case in burning their (Qualcomm) boats. It had better be worth it, especially without Intel to fall back on this time around.


    edited May 1 macplusplusmuthuk_vanalingamradarthekatwilliamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 28
    danoxdanox Posts: 951member
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    You are the one in denial like Intel, Apple has the money time, and talent, to git it done and they will, it took 13 years to kick Intel’s ass, it won’t take that long for Qualcomm.
    tmayBeatslolliverwilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,719member
    melgross said:
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    That's hardly true.

    The first modems that Apple fabs will go into Mac product lines, not iPhones, and given that there are no modems at all for Mac's, the complaints, if any, will fall on deaf ears. The reason for this is quite obvious; Apple can support a few millions of modems a month for Mac's, and they won't have to be as energy efficient for the first pass, as an iPhone would require. 

    As for competing with Qualcomm on modems, Apple has a number of years left in its agreement with Qualcomm, so given Apple's historic advances in just about all technologies, I'm not seeing the risk that you are.

    avon b7
    said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    Here you go again, bringing Huawei into the conversation.

    Perhaps you should mention that Huawei doesn't actually have any current Kirin processors being fabbed. I'd speculate as well that Ukraine will be the example to all of the West of why you don't use an adversary for critical infrastructure, and Huawei's close ties to the PRC are abundantly clear. On top of that, Finland and Sweden are likely to join NATO this month, and both of those countries are leaders in telecom.

    Oddly, you have never, ever, agreed with me that Telecom is a National Security issue; here's your chance...

    edited May 1 Beatswilliamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 28
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,009member
    dewme said:
    charlesn said:
    avon b7 said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 


    Have to agree with Avon B7, who was merely pointing out the hurdles that Apple faces which make developing its own modem a big challenge, bigger even than development of the M1. There's no day late/dollar short criticism of Apple at all. 
    I'll pile on to your support of Avon B7. Anything that broadcasts over the air and has to interoperate with existing standards, conform to national and global regulations, and has a massive installed base to support has to confirm exactly to those standards and regulations. With the M1 Apple has a great deal of flexibility about how it implements internal details and private interfaces with its own proprietary system components. We've already seen Apple exercise this freedom with the proprietary memory modules in the Mac Studio.

    Apple can do anything it wants within the boundaries of the system that they own. When it comes to telecommunications Apple does not own the system, they are just one player in a much larger system.

    I get your point about asserting that Apple undoubtedly has the technical chops and "smarts" to take on very complex technical challenges. But being smart is not enough. They also need problem domain and subject matter expertise, experienced and knowledgable staff ready to go, and design and manufacturing resources available "yesterday" that have been working towards solving the kind of highly specialized problems they are facing to build their own modem.

    Apple can certainly grow or buy everything they need to get to where they need to be. However, it takes time and money and lessons learned along the way, exactly what this Apple Insider article is laying out in good detail, to get there. Simply having a bunch of really smart people on staff, all of whom are already heavily engaged in solving other big problems that need solutions, is not enough.

    This is a high bar for Apple to get over. Simply being good enough or comparable to what they are getting from Qualcomm isn't going to cut it for Apple. Just like the M1 and Intel, they have to be significantly better to really make it worth the huge time, effort, and money needed to solve this with engineering versus solving this with business negotiation. Apple could negotiate with to Qualcomm cut its prices or give Apple more favorable terms for timing, deliverables, and volumes. Once Apple decides to take on the huge engineering effort on their own this becomes a case in burning their (Qualcomm) boats. It had better be worth it, especially without Intel to fall back on this time around.



    This argument gets debunked about every other year.
    lolliverwilliamlondondanox
  • Reply 17 of 28
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,212member
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    That's hardly true.

    The first modems that Apple fabs will go into Mac product lines, not iPhones, and given that there are no modems at all for Mac's, the complaints, if any, will fall on deaf ears. The reason for this is quite obvious; Apple can support a few millions of modems a month for Mac's, and they won't have to be as energy efficient for the first pass, as an iPhone would require. 

    As for competing with Qualcomm on modems, Apple has a number of years left in its agreement with Qualcomm, so given Apple's historic advances in just about all technologies, I'm not seeing the risk that you are.

    avon b7
    said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    Here you go again, bringing Huawei into the conversation.

    Perhaps you should mention that Huawei doesn't actually have any current Kirin processors being fabbed. I'd speculate as well that Ukraine will be the example to all of the West of why you don't use an adversary for critical infrastructure, and Huawei's close ties to the PRC are abundantly clear. On top of that, Finland and Sweden are likely to join NATO this month, and both of those countries are leaders in telecom.

    Oddly, you have never, ever, agreed with me that Telecom is a National Security issue; here's your chance...

    Telecom is definitely a national security issue. All critical infrastructure is a national security issue. I have never argued otherwise.

    What are not national security issues are the vendors of telecom infrastructure.

    All telecom infrastructure is standards based and cannot reach the market without certification. Security is part of that certification. In the case of Huawei, it has at least three 'transparency' centres around the world dedicated to security. On top of that its code is available for inspection. It even offered the US its entire 5G stack under licence. 

    Huawei has installed and manages some of the world's most important undersea communications cabling. Three such lines (from three continents) hit mainland Spain and that is one of the reasons why Huawei is creating more data centre hubs in Spain. 

    Anyone wishing to inflict significant harm on the world's internet traffic would only have to take out undersea cables. Something that most major states can do without too much effort. 

    In terms of actual network operations though, it is the carriers, not the vendors, which manage everything. Any attacks on networks are not dependent on infrastructure vendors and are equally 'vulnerable' to any party with an interest in breaching them. 

    Infrastructure vendors are not the problem and never ever have been. That has been demonstrated by decades of interoperability and, in the case of Huawei specifically, not a single major breach to its name nor evidence of any problems. 

    Of course, none of that has anything to do this thread. Neither does Kirin so you can let all that go. 

    I mentioned Huawei because it has key patents. It produces CE and industrial 5G products within a wide domain of activity. It is relevant in terms of competition and the bars that are raised. 

    Obviously Qualcomm too as it is discussed in the article even though it doesn't ship end user products. 

    In patent terms, it was rumored a few years ago that Apple licences almost 800 patents from Huawei and that Huawei licences around 80 from Apple. 

    With the purchase of Intel's modem division Apple suddenly has a chest of around 17,000 wireless patents to use. 

    It is already squaring up to Ericsson in court in a patent dispute (which it could lose) and no doubt will use that influence to try and bring down its patent licencing fees.

    That won't change the difficulty surrounding Apple's efforts though as I detailed above. 

    FWIW, I've always said it was the right way to go even if they are very late to the party and have had to 'buy' almost everything in (and basically with no alternative because it landed itself in a strategic planning nightmare with the Qualcomm fiasco). 
  • Reply 18 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,719member
    avon b7 said:
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    That's hardly true.

    The first modems that Apple fabs will go into Mac product lines, not iPhones, and given that there are no modems at all for Mac's, the complaints, if any, will fall on deaf ears. The reason for this is quite obvious; Apple can support a few millions of modems a month for Mac's, and they won't have to be as energy efficient for the first pass, as an iPhone would require. 

    As for competing with Qualcomm on modems, Apple has a number of years left in its agreement with Qualcomm, so given Apple's historic advances in just about all technologies, I'm not seeing the risk that you are.

    avon b7
    said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    Here you go again, bringing Huawei into the conversation.

    Perhaps you should mention that Huawei doesn't actually have any current Kirin processors being fabbed. I'd speculate as well that Ukraine will be the example to all of the West of why you don't use an adversary for critical infrastructure, and Huawei's close ties to the PRC are abundantly clear. On top of that, Finland and Sweden are likely to join NATO this month, and both of those countries are leaders in telecom.

    Oddly, you have never, ever, agreed with me that Telecom is a National Security issue; here's your chance...

    Telecom is definitely a national security issue. All critical infrastructure is a national security issue. I have never argued otherwise.

    What are not national security issues are the vendors of telecom infrastructure.

    All telecom infrastructure is standards based and cannot reach the market without certification. Security is part of that certification. In the case of Huawei, it has at least three 'transparency' centres around the world dedicated to security. On top of that its code is available for inspection. It even offered the US its entire 5G stack under licence. 

    Huawei has installed and manages some of the world's most important undersea communications cabling. Three such lines (from three continents) hit mainland Spain and that is one of the reasons why Huawei is creating more data centre hubs in Spain. 

    Anyone wishing to inflict significant harm on the world's internet traffic would only have to take out undersea cables. Something that most major states can do without too much effort. 

    In terms of actual network operations though, it is the carriers, not the vendors, which manage everything. Any attacks on networks are not dependent on infrastructure vendors and are equally 'vulnerable' to any party with an interest in breaching them. 

    Infrastructure vendors are not the problem and never ever have been. That has been demonstrated by decades of interoperability and, in the case of Huawei specifically, not a single major breach to its name nor evidence of any problems. 

    Of course, none of that has anything to do this thread. Neither does Kirin so you can let all that go. 

    I mentioned Huawei because it has key patents. It produces CE and industrial 5G products within a wide domain of activity. It is relevant in terms of competition and the bars that are raised. 

    Obviously Qualcomm too as it is discussed in the article even though it doesn't ship end user products. 

    In patent terms, it was rumored a few years ago that Apple licences almost 800 patents from Huawei and that Huawei licences around 80 from Apple. 

    With the purchase of Intel's modem division Apple suddenly has a chest of around 17,000 wireless patents to use. 

    It is already squaring up to Ericsson in court in a patent dispute (which it could lose) and no doubt will use that influence to try and bring down its patent licencing fees.

    That won't change the difficulty surrounding Apple's efforts though as I detailed above. 

    FWIW, I've always said it was the right way to go even if they are very late to the party and have had to 'buy' almost everything in (and basically with no alternative because it landed itself in a strategic planning nightmare with the Qualcomm fiasco). 
    You just can't help but double down...

    Yeah, of course, let's have a PRC company, Huawei, manage undersea communications; what could possibly go wrong?
    lolliverwilliamlondonmelgross
  • Reply 19 of 28
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    That's hardly true.

    The first modems that Apple fabs will go into Mac product lines, not iPhones, and given that there are no modems at all for Mac's, the complaints, if any, will fall on deaf ears. The reason for this is quite obvious; Apple can support a few millions of modems a month for Mac's, and they won't have to be as energy efficient for the first pass, as an iPhone would require. 

    As for competing with Qualcomm on modems, Apple has a number of years left in its agreement with Qualcomm, so given Apple's historic advances in just about all technologies, I'm not seeing the risk that you are.

    avon b7
    said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    Here you go again, bringing Huawei into the conversation.

    Perhaps you should mention that Huawei doesn't actually have any current Kirin processors being fabbed. I'd speculate as well that Ukraine will be the example to all of the West of why you don't use an adversary for critical infrastructure, and Huawei's close ties to the PRC are abundantly clear. On top of that, Finland and Sweden are likely to join NATO this month, and both of those countries are leaders in telecom.

    Oddly, you have never, ever, agreed with me that Telecom is a National Security issue; here's your chance...

    Telecom is definitely a national security issue. All critical infrastructure is a national security issue. I have never argued otherwise.

    What are not national security issues are the vendors of telecom infrastructure.

    All telecom infrastructure is standards based and cannot reach the market without certification. Security is part of that certification. In the case of Huawei, it has at least three 'transparency' centres around the world dedicated to security. On top of that its code is available for inspection. It even offered the US its entire 5G stack under licence. 

    Huawei has installed and manages some of the world's most important undersea communications cabling. Three such lines (from three continents) hit mainland Spain and that is one of the reasons why Huawei is creating more data centre hubs in Spain. 

    Anyone wishing to inflict significant harm on the world's internet traffic would only have to take out undersea cables. Something that most major states can do without too much effort. 

    In terms of actual network operations though, it is the carriers, not the vendors, which manage everything. Any attacks on networks are not dependent on infrastructure vendors and are equally 'vulnerable' to any party with an interest in breaching them. 

    Infrastructure vendors are not the problem and never ever have been. That has been demonstrated by decades of interoperability and, in the case of Huawei specifically, not a single major breach to its name nor evidence of any problems. 

    Of course, none of that has anything to do this thread. Neither does Kirin so you can let all that go. 

    I mentioned Huawei because it has key patents. It produces CE and industrial 5G products within a wide domain of activity. It is relevant in terms of competition and the bars that are raised. 

    Obviously Qualcomm too as it is discussed in the article even though it doesn't ship end user products. 

    In patent terms, it was rumored a few years ago that Apple licences almost 800 patents from Huawei and that Huawei licences around 80 from Apple. 

    With the purchase of Intel's modem division Apple suddenly has a chest of around 17,000 wireless patents to use. 

    It is already squaring up to Ericsson in court in a patent dispute (which it could lose) and no doubt will use that influence to try and bring down its patent licencing fees.

    That won't change the difficulty surrounding Apple's efforts though as I detailed above. 

    FWIW, I've always said it was the right way to go even if they are very late to the party and have had to 'buy' almost everything in (and basically with no alternative because it landed itself in a strategic planning nightmare with the Qualcomm fiasco). 
    You just can't help but double down...

    Yeah, of course, let's have a PRC company, Huawei, manage undersea communications; what could possibly go wrong?


    … reaches for tinfoil and starts folding …
    “Probably some of the same issues we saw from those fellows in the CIA, NSA, MI5, Stasi, and K.G.B., methinks Precious. Yessss, PRECIOUS! It’s those trixy hobbitses from {UnnamedAsianCountry} that’s steals from us!” … dons hat.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 28
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,212member
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    First, everybody pays patent fees to everyone else. It could even end up that Huawei and Qualcomm pay some to Apple. We really don’t know. Intel had a bunch of their own patents, Apple has some on its own, and had bought a slew of them previously. So we should get that out of the way, as these are all FRAND patents anyway.

    but, making a modern modem is very difficult. It’s not “just” a radio. It’s a very complex transmitter in both directions. And yes, it does have to meet numerous compliance standards around the world. There are also numerous frequencies it has to operate over. Then there are the antennas, complicated by the new hi bands. Power draw is a problem. A modern modem can draw as much as a high end SoC.

    Apple never integrated the modems into their SoC as many Android manufacturers did, because Qualcomm never allowed it. Only Qualcomm;s SoC and modem could be mated together that way. Now, possibly Apple might be interested in doing that, though the major advantage of less power draw has never been a problem for Apple before.

    but one thing is true. The very first modem Apple comes out with had better be about as good as the Qualcomm model it will replace, or Apple will never hear the end of it, even if in the real world, the performance is about the same. If there are just a couple of edge cases where it falls slightly behind, it will get ripped.
    That's hardly true.

    The first modems that Apple fabs will go into Mac product lines, not iPhones, and given that there are no modems at all for Mac's, the complaints, if any, will fall on deaf ears. The reason for this is quite obvious; Apple can support a few millions of modems a month for Mac's, and they won't have to be as energy efficient for the first pass, as an iPhone would require. 

    As for competing with Qualcomm on modems, Apple has a number of years left in its agreement with Qualcomm, so given Apple's historic advances in just about all technologies, I'm not seeing the risk that you are.

    avon b7
    said:
    lkrupp said:
    avon b7 said:
    glnf said:
    mattinoz said:
    So what's in a modem that is different / hard compared to the M1?

    Seems an odd statement to just hang out there.
    You are (also) dealing with analogue signal processing at incredibly high frequencies. Designing a microprocessor is stacking up Lego bricks, designing a G5 modem is wizardry and magic with thrown in quantum effects. So to speak.
    Not to mention all the standards compliance, testing and certification processes. 

    Then the finished product has to actually play well with the deployed carrier infrastructure out there where Qualcomm and Huawei etc will have a major advantage, as both of them are actively involved in making that hardware as well as moving it forward (5.5G, 6G...).

    Of course, financially, there is no getting away from paying patent fees to both of them in the process. 
    Apple is always a day late and a dollar short for people like you. It’s amazing they are even in business to you, right?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. 

    The reality is what it is. There is no getting away from that. If you want to live in denial, that is fine. 



    Here you go again, bringing Huawei into the conversation.

    Perhaps you should mention that Huawei doesn't actually have any current Kirin processors being fabbed. I'd speculate as well that Ukraine will be the example to all of the West of why you don't use an adversary for critical infrastructure, and Huawei's close ties to the PRC are abundantly clear. On top of that, Finland and Sweden are likely to join NATO this month, and both of those countries are leaders in telecom.

    Oddly, you have never, ever, agreed with me that Telecom is a National Security issue; here's your chance...

    Telecom is definitely a national security issue. All critical infrastructure is a national security issue. I have never argued otherwise.

    What are not national security issues are the vendors of telecom infrastructure.

    All telecom infrastructure is standards based and cannot reach the market without certification. Security is part of that certification. In the case of Huawei, it has at least three 'transparency' centres around the world dedicated to security. On top of that its code is available for inspection. It even offered the US its entire 5G stack under licence. 

    Huawei has installed and manages some of the world's most important undersea communications cabling. Three such lines (from three continents) hit mainland Spain and that is one of the reasons why Huawei is creating more data centre hubs in Spain. 

    Anyone wishing to inflict significant harm on the world's internet traffic would only have to take out undersea cables. Something that most major states can do without too much effort. 

    In terms of actual network operations though, it is the carriers, not the vendors, which manage everything. Any attacks on networks are not dependent on infrastructure vendors and are equally 'vulnerable' to any party with an interest in breaching them. 

    Infrastructure vendors are not the problem and never ever have been. That has been demonstrated by decades of interoperability and, in the case of Huawei specifically, not a single major breach to its name nor evidence of any problems. 

    Of course, none of that has anything to do this thread. Neither does Kirin so you can let all that go. 

    I mentioned Huawei because it has key patents. It produces CE and industrial 5G products within a wide domain of activity. It is relevant in terms of competition and the bars that are raised. 

    Obviously Qualcomm too as it is discussed in the article even though it doesn't ship end user products. 

    In patent terms, it was rumored a few years ago that Apple licences almost 800 patents from Huawei and that Huawei licences around 80 from Apple. 

    With the purchase of Intel's modem division Apple suddenly has a chest of around 17,000 wireless patents to use. 

    It is already squaring up to Ericsson in court in a patent dispute (which it could lose) and no doubt will use that influence to try and bring down its patent licencing fees.

    That won't change the difficulty surrounding Apple's efforts though as I detailed above. 

    FWIW, I've always said it was the right way to go even if they are very late to the party and have had to 'buy' almost everything in (and basically with no alternative because it landed itself in a strategic planning nightmare with the Qualcomm fiasco). 
    You just can't help but double down...

    Yeah, of course, let's have a PRC company, Huawei, manage undersea communications; what could possibly go wrong?
    It's called the internet for a reason. Huawei isn't managing ALL the cables out there. It doesn't matter where the company is based. International communications are based on agreed international standards in spite of Trump once floating the idea of a 'US' 5G. What could have possibly gone wrong with that? 

    Facebook/Microsoft have a joint 5,000KM cable down there too and there are plenty more so please don't worry. 

    Now, would it be asking too much to get back on topic?


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