After the iPad Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro all gained support for speedier Wi-Fi 6E with their latest releases, it’s all but certain to come to the iPhone 15 in the fall. However, those chips won’t be made by Apple.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has “halted the development of its own Wi-Fi chip for a while” as it focuses on the development of 3nm processors for the Mac and iPhone. Apple had been working on a standalone Wi-Fi chip to replace Broadcom’s version in its device, but Kuo says “investors should not be worried about Apple’s own Wi-Fi chip affecting Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chip business in the foreseeable future.”
This is the second major chip project that has hit a serious snag. Apple was also working on a 5G modem after buying the remainder of Intel’s shuttered team in 2019, but Kuo reported last year that “development may have failed” and Apple would be using Qualcomm’s chips in the iPhone 14.
Apple has been working on bringing more iPhone and Mac components in-house, with development continuing on several smaller components. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reports that Apple is working on a combo Bluetooth-Wi-Fi chip for 2025, but Kuo notes that “developing a Wi-Fi+Bluetooth combo chip is more challenging than just a Wi-Fi-only chip.”
Kuo notes that Apple is concerned about a “slowdown of processor upgrades” and is shifting resources to ensure mass production of its 3nm chips isn’t delayed. The rollout of the M2 chips has been somewhat bumpy, with the M2 debuting in June 2022 and the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips not arriving until January 2023 after reportedly being delayed by several months. Additionally, reports say Apple scaled back the A16 chip in the iPhone 14 after hitting “unprecedented” production issues.