Apple Reportedly Set to Tap Qualcomm for 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones

BY Evan Selleck

Published 16 Apr 2019

Qualcomm and Apple had their disagreements, which led to a lengthy legal battle between the two. But, today, it finally culminated in a settlement between the two companies. The dust has barely settled and now there’s a report out saying Qualcomm will be Apple’s go-to choice to supply 5G modems in 2020 iPhones.

According to a report from Nikkei out this afternoon, Apple is already planning on calling up Qualcomm to be the key supplier for 5G modems next year. Apple and Qualcomm were reportedly negotiating today’s settlement “for weeks”, and, part of that was tied to 5G modem availability for Apple. What’s more, Apple has already been testing Qualcomm’s 5G modems, according to the report, and has been asking its suppliers to do the same.

There wasn’t any expectation that Apple would use a 5G modem in the 2019 iPhone lineup, but this report further confirms that will not be the case.

“It is too late for Apple to use Qualcomm’s chips this year, but for 2020 it will purchase modem chips, including 5G modem chips, from the chipmaker for iPhones after finalizing the deal,” a source with direct knowledge of the settlement plan told Nikkei.”

Early reports had been leaning into Intel being Apple’s primary supplier for 5G modems in 2020 iPhones. However, there were recent reports suggesting that Intel wasn’t going to be able to meet Apple’s demand. If that is indeed the case, it certainly could have helped nudge Apple in the direction of a settlement with Qualcomm, seeing as Apple wasn’t likely to rely on Samsung (or Huawei for that matter), for 5G modems next year.

Our Take

This has always felt a little inevitable, even with Apple and Qualcomm going at it in the courts. Apple’s goal of launching an iPhone with 5G on board in 2020 had to be pretty important, as it looks like it played a pretty big role in deciding the legal fate between Apple and Qualcomm today.

[via Nikkei]