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

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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.

Apple cracks on with building its own mobile modems

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qualcomm.modem.chip
Apple currently relies on modems designed by Qualcomm.
Photo: Qualcomm

Apple has started building its own cellular modems for use in future devices. Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, made the announcement to employees Thursday during a virtual town hall meeting.

The company currently relies on Qualcomm modems, after restoring its relationship with the company following a prolonged clash over patents and royalties. However, Apple has made no bones about its desire to bring this part of its manufacturing in-house. It even bought Intel’s modem business for $1 billion in 2019, the second-largest acquisition in Apple history.

Qualcomm predicts strong 5G smartphone demand into 2021, hinting at Apple’s iPhone plans

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qualcomm.modem.chip
Qualcomm expects to sell a lot of modem chipsets for 5G mobiles - like the iPhone - in the next year.
Photo: Qualcomm

Chipmaker Qualcomm said Wednesday it expects the smartphone industry to ship 30% fewer mobile phones in the second quarter as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but predicted the demand for 5G smartphones will accelerate from the second half of 2020 into the new year.

As a provider of modem chips to Apple, the predictions give further evidence that the Cupertino-based high-tech giant is on track to release it’s first 5G-ready iPhone lineup later this year simply based on Qualcomm’s estimates of product demand.

Qualcomm’s new cellular modems could finally take 5G mainstream

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Qualcomm headquarters
This could be the modem which appears in the 2020 iPhone.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has announced its new Snapdragon X60 5G modem, its third-gen 5G chip which offers improvements over its Snapdragon X55 and X50 predecessors.

While there is no confirmation that this is the case, this could very well be the modem chip that is used in the forthcoming generation of 5G iPhones. Apple patched up its rocky relationship with Qualcomm last year over the company’s 5G technology.

Apple wants to ditch Qualcomm’s 5G antenna on 2020 iPhones

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Qualcomm headquarters
Sounds like Qualcomm and Apple still have a love-hate relationship.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s 5G antenna design isn’t up to par with Apple’s design standards, reveals a new report that claims Apple is building its own antenna for this year’s 5G iPhones.

Fast Company claims Apple has decided to do the design work itself on the 5G antenna but it will still use Qualcomm’s 5G modem chip. If true, Apple would be adding an extra level of difficulty for churning out a reliable 5G iPhone during one of its most anticipated upgrade cycles in years.

Apple might snap up Broadcom’s RF chip business

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Broadcom
Broadcom has been supplying Apple with chips for years.
Photo: Florian Knodt/Flickr

Apple might be in the market to acquire the radio-frequency chip division from one of its biggest parts suppliers.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Broadcom Inc is working with Credit Suisse to find a possible buyer of its RF wireless-chip unit in an effort to diversify its business and move more toward software. Although the names of companies potentially interested in the division haven’t been named, Apple observers are quickly pointing out that the iPhone-maker scooping it up makes the most sense.

Qualcomm may have just hinted that 5G iPhones are coming in 2020

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2020 could be Apple's greatest year so far
Coming soon to a pocket near you. Hopefully.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf predicts 175 million to 225 million 5G handsets will be sold in 2020. The company is also expecting new flagship devices with its 5G chips to be made available for sale next fall.

While that’s far from a guarantee, the comments provide more (possible) clues that 2020 could be when we get the first 5G iPhones.