Although it’s not as exciting as a new iPhone 15 render or leak, Qualcomm released a bit of Apple news at Mobile World Congress this week. According to CEO Cristiano Amon, the clock is running on the company’s multi-year commitment to provide a 5G modem for the iPhone.
In an interview with CNBC, Amon said, “We’re not planning for 2024, my planning is that we’re not giving. [Apple] a modem in ’24, but it was their decision to make. Apple has been using Qualcomm’s 5G modem since the iPhone 12 debuted its new wireless connection, and it’s expected that the iPhone 15 will also include a Qualcomm component, most likely the X70. The iPhone 14 uses Qualcomm’s X65 modem.
Apple has been working on its own 5G modem for years. In 2019, it acquired “the majority” of Intel’s smartphone modem business after Intel announced it was halting modem development. Apple has reportedly been working on its own version of a 5G modem since early 2020.
Earlier this week, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple will debut the modem in the next iPhone SE, which currently uses Qualcomm’s X57 modem and only supports the slow sub-6GHz 5G. The iPhone 14’s X65 modem supports sub-6GHz and higher mmWave speeds.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this from Qualcomm. Last year, the company also expected Apple to switch to its own modems for the iPhone 14, but Apple reportedly hit a roadblock in its development. It is unclear whether Amon’s comments are speculative or based on industry analysis and hearsay.
When Apple debuts the modem on the iPhone, it is expected to quickly come to other products as well, including the iPad and Apple Watch.