According to prior rumors, Qualcomm would serve as Apple’s exclusive 5G modem provider for the 2023 debut of the iPhone 15 series. Based on the most recent estimate, Qualcomm would probably cover all of the iPhone 16’s 5G modem shipments since an internal modem is anticipated to appear in a few years.
The Snapdragon X70 is Qualcomm’s most advanced 5G modem to date, and it will probably be used in the next flagship models. According to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, the business would be building its replacement, the Snapdragon X75, shortly for several clients, including Apple.
According to MacRumors, the Snapdragon X75 will be mass-built using TSMC’s 4nm design, exactly like the Snapdragon X70, which means it will be very power-efficient, provide large bandwidth, and maybe take up less space when used in all iPhone 16 versions. Since it is reportedly constructed on TSMC’s 4nm design, it will unfortunately be expensive to integrate. As a result, Apple will either have to pass those increases along to consumers or swallow the component prices, which would reduce the company’s gross margins.
For many years, there have been rumors that Apple is working on an internal 5G modem. Apple wants to break its present dependence on Qualcomm for its 5G modems as quickly as feasible. Apple does not want to depend on any third-party manufacturers when it can become its supplier, but with Qualcomm, it is much more subjective. The dispute dates back to 2017 when Apple couldn’t use Qualcomm’s modems due to patent licensing conflicts and other accusations. After a prolonged court struggle, Apple ultimately settled the dispute with Qualcomm for a sizable “sorry money“ sum to utilize its 5G modems.
Apple must continue to depend on Qualcomm’s expertise for a few more years since designing this chip is not the same as bulk-producing an A-series or M-series SoC. Before Apple is fully self-sufficient in making this component in large numbers, it should take a few more years following the introduction of the in-house solution, thus Qualcomm will continue to rely on this alliance until then.