Apple has had a difficult relationship with Qualcomm. Since Intel left, Qualcomm has been the company's sole supplier for 5G chips.
Apple bought Intel's modem business to abandon Qualcomm and switch to in-house modems eventually.
Might-Chi Kuo, an analyst, recently reported that this might not be happening according to the original timeline (H2-2023).
The implication was that the technology wasn't ready. FOSS Patents now presents a different view. The problem with Apple's 5G efforts is legal and not technical.
Apple has a license agreement with Qualcomm that expires in 2025 but can be extended up to 2027.
It was initially believed that Apple would move to in-house modems by then. However, this seems unlikely.
It's funny that two patents prevent Apple from moving forward, but they have little to do with 5G.
The first lets users decline calls by sending a text message (e.g., The other lets the user decline a call with a text message (e.g. "I'm Busy"), and the third is about the app-switching interface.
The kicker is that Qualcomm will sue Apple if it decides to switch to its in-house modem. Apple tried to cancel the patents in 2029 and 2030, respectively.
However, this Monday's Supreme Court decision ruled that Apple could not revive the patent challenge.
Apple originally hoped Qualcomm would supply only 20% of its modems by 2023, not 100%. If Florian Mueller is correct, this is unlikely to happen.
Apple will need to continue purchasing modems from Qualcomm and pay licensing fees.