Qualcomm’s 10 gigabit 5G modem likely to show up in future iPhones


The next iPhone might use the speedy Snapdragon X65 5G modem
The Snapdragon X65 modem has just about everything the next 5G iPhone could need.
Graphic: Qualcomm

Qualcomm unveiled a 5G modem that potentially could increase the network speed of future iPhones. The new Snapdragon X65 promises 10 gigabit per second connections, as well as reduced battery drain.

In its announcement Tuesday, the chip maker didn’t specifically say the modem is headed for Apple products, but the iPhone 12 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem for 5G. And the two companies have a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

The X55 offers a peak download speed of 7.5 Gbps. The X65 brings a 33.3% increase.

“We are reaching a significant milestone with the Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, unleashing connectivity up to 10 Gigabits per second and support for the latest 5G specifications that will play a critical role in enabling new 5G use cases,” said Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm’s president and CEO-elect.

Getting into the details off the Snapdragon X65

The new 5G modem supports sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequencies. Both are required as wireless telecoms use a wide range of frequencies to provide 5G service. The sub-6 GHz band works better through walls while mmWave is significantly faster.

Qualcomm built a variety of power-saving methods into the X65, and promises “all-day battery life.” These should also allow the modem to generate less heat.

The 5G modem for 2021 iPhone 13?

The Snapdragon X65 is already available for device makers to test. And Qualcomm predicts that commercial devices based on the chip will launch by late 2021.

That’s possibly in time to make it into the iPhone 13… or whatever Apple calls the iOS handset it’ll launch this autumn. At the very least, it’ll be in the 2022 model.



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