- Documents related to Apple and Qualcomm’s regulatory regime have revealed Qualcomm’s 5G modem roadmap.
- The documents show that Apple expects to use previously unseen X65 and X70 5G modems from Qualcomm.
Apple just launched its first iPhone 12 series 5G iPhones. It looks like they’re powered by Qualcomm’s X55 modem, which can also be seen in Android flagships. This is not unexpected as Apple has signed an agreement to use Qualcomm chips.
What’s unexpected is that years of documents related to the Apple and Qualcomm legal settlement may have given us a look at the U.S. chipmaker’s 5G modem roadmap. The old documents – dug up by the Twitter user @dnywlsh and MacRumors – Show that Apple intended to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems by 2024. See a screenshot of the relevant excerpt below.
Specifically, Apple announced its intention to use the X55 modem on devices launched between June 2020 and May 2021, the X60 modem between June 2021 and May 2022, and the X65 and X70 modems between June 2022 and May 2024 .
Qualcomm’s X55 has been available for Android phones since 2019. Meanwhile, the X60 was announced earlier this year and is expected to accompany the flagship Snapdragon 875 processor, which will power many high-end Android phones in 2021.
However, this is the first time we have heard of the X65 and X70 modems, although the names are almost all we know at this point. When we say this, we expect improved power consumption, faster 5G speeds, and greater integration with Qualcomm’s RF components.
The published timeline could also give us a glimpse into Apple’s internal 5G modem plans, and it looks like it is expected to be dependent on Qualcomm for some time. Apple already took over Intel’s modem business in 2019, allegedly to develop its own 5G modems and to set itself apart from the US chip manufacturer. However, this roadmap suggests that Apple expects its first 5G modems to be a long gestation. Of course, it’s possible Apple has made rapid progress since filing these documents last year, but we’ll have to wait and see.
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