Apple’s chip supplier, Qualcomm has hinted at the possibility of the tech giant using its 5G modems in iPhone 16 models expected in 2024 instead of custom 5G chips.
Although the two companies have been partners for years, they have had a rocky relationship. In addition to supplying 5G chips to Apple, Qualcomm also demanded the tech company pay patent royalties for the tech. And after an exhausting legal battle, both companies reached an out-of-court settlement.
Later, Apple acquired Intel’s modem business in 2019 and rumor mills claimed that the company would debut its in-house 5G modem as early as 2023 in iPhone 15 series to reduce reliance on third-party manufacturers.
However, reports claim that Apple’s 5G modem is not ready yet and the company will continue with Qualcomm’s 5G connectivity chips in iPhone 15 series.
Like in 2023, Apple could order 5G chips for iPhone 16 from Qualcomm in 2024
At MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon said that Apple planned to use its own 5G modem in 2024. But also mentioned that if the tech company decided otherwise, it knew “where to find us.”
In a new interview with CNBC, Amon expressed the possibility of Apple using Qualcomm’s 5G modems instead of its own chips in the iPhone 16 series coming in 2024. He said that although the company did not expect to provide 5G chips to Apple in 2023, the tech giant used its 5G chips in iPhone 15 series.
In an interview with CNBC’s Karen Tso and Arjun Kharpal, Amon said Qualcomm had told investors back in 2021 that it did not expect to provide modems for the iPhone in 2023, but Apple then decided to continue for another year.
He also mentioned even if Apple decides to use in-house 5G modems, the tech company would still pay patent royalties to Qualcomm.
Amon did not confirm whether Apple would pay Qualcomm QTL licenses if it moves to its own modems, but said royalty was “independent from providing a chip.”
It is expected that the iPhone 16 Pro model would feature under-the-display Face ID and Apple might offer a higher-end iPhone 16 model, along with iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max in 2024.