16 December 2020
Apple and Qualcomm ended their long battle and announced a new deal under which the former gets the 5G modems and related parts for its iPhone models from the latter. The deal was inked last year and this year we witnessed the result of that partnership. Apple launched its first 5G-enabled iPhones this year and entered the big 5G ecosystem.
At the launch of the iPhone 12, Apple didn’t disclose the name of the 5G modem but it was pretty evident that this must be from Qualcomm. However, a teardown video that surfaced recently put all speculations to rest by revealing the iPhone 12 is indeed using the Snapdragon X55 5G modem from Qualcomm. This might not be a big revelation but a new leak revealing Apple’s upcoming plans on gradually adopting Qualcomm’s 5G modems is definitely something.
An old document unearthed by a user on Twitter (account no more exists) and later reported to MacRumors reveals the Apple-Qualcomm 5G modem roadmap. Here’s an excerpt from the document that shows Apple's intention to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems all the way up to 2024.
- First, the document kind of comes a confirmation that what the teardown brought out was right. The roadmap shows that Apple will “commercially” launch new models of its products with Snapdragon X55 modem during the time period between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.
- The best part is the document throws light on Apple’s further plans, including when it is going to make use of Qualcomm’s SDX60, SDX65, and even SDX70 chipsets.
- Furthermore, the leaked document on Apple’s 5G roadmap also reveals the names of Qualcomm’s upcoming 5G modems. The last modem that Qualcomm launched was Snapdragon X60 and it is yet to be used by even Android phone manufacturers. The roadmap reveals the name of its iterations – SDX65/SDX70. So, this is the first time we are hearing their names. Although it’s not a big thing, Qualcomm looks to be following its own way of naming its 5G chipsets.
- Looks like Apple is going to rely on Qualcomm for the 5G smartphone business for a longer period of time. This isn’t a surprise as well. Going back to the terms of the deal, the two companies had signed a multiyear chipset supply agreement.
- There are reports that Apple could start making its own 5G modems in-house so as to be less dependent on the US chipmaker. This got evident when it acquired Intel’s modem business back in 2019. But looking at the leaked document, it appears the journey to be self-reliant or self-supporting is quite far.