Report: Apple Will Use Qualcomm 5G Chips In 2020 iPhones

  • General
  • October 31, 2019
  • 3
  • 5 minutes read
Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller

image: Apple

According to a new report from the Nikkei Asian Review, Apple is adopting Qualcomm’s X55 5G chip for three iPhones that it’s expected to launch next year, and is already mobilizing suppliers to assemble its first ever 5G iPhones. According to Nikkei, Apple has also set a target of shipping at least 80 million of the new 5G phones.

Apple is betting on 5G-enabled phones to help it topple Huawei’s current position as the second-largest smartphone maker, Nikkei reports. If such report stands true, then 5G-enabled phones from a much-patronized manufacturer like Apple will also likely be an incentive for global carriers to roll out 5G telecoms infrastructure. Nikkei’s report kind of corroborates with a previous one from Bloomberg that said Apple will wait until at least 2020 to release a 5G phone.

The X55 is the most advanced chip designed by Qualcomm, which Apple had fought a long-standing business related battle with until a surprise settlement earlier this year. Their dispute centered around patent licensing practices, and involved several court appearances and lawsuits from both parties. With both companies having settled, Apple adopting Qualcomm 5G chips doesn’t sound far-fetched, especially after Intel, a Qualcomm competitor with similar resources to match its production capacity, pulled out of the smartphone chip business (in April). Apple later scooped up Intel’s smartphone chip business in a deal worth $1 billion, absorbing 2,200 employees in the process.

Even with Intel’s smartphone chip division, it’s possible Apple is not yet at a stage where it can manufacture 5G chips, or even if it can, at a scale that’ll match its iPhone production rate, hence the need for Qualcomm. According to Nikkei, Apple is actually hoping to develop 5G chips in-house, although such a project could take several years.

The X55, Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 in full, is the most advanced [known] 5G modem chip, enabling faster download speeds (up to 7 gigabits per second (Gbps)) and upload speeds (up to 3gbps) when browsing over 5G. Qualcomm unveiled the chip just this year, in time for 5G adoption, for which several tests have already been conducted.

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