Report: Apple to Use Qualcomm's X55 5G Modem in All Three 2020 iPhones
Apple's 2020 iPhones will all use Qualcomm's newest and fastest 5G-capable modem chip, claims a new report out of Asia today.
Apple is expected to launch three iPhones next year in 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch sizes. According to Nikkei Asian Review, all three will carry the 5G modem chip designed by Qualcomm called the X55.
All three of the new iPhones will carry the most advanced 5G modem chip, known as X55 that is designed by U.S. mobile chip developer Qualcomm, four people familiar with the plan told Nikkei. The chip, which enables much faster downloads, faces such an increase in demand that there could be supply constraints, one person added.
The X55 chip offers 7Gb/s peak download speeds and 3Gb/s upload speeds, though these numbers are theoretical maximums and actual speeds will depend on carrier network. The chip is Qualcomm's first 5G chip that supports all major frequency bands, operation modes, and network deployments.
The X55 is also more power efficient than Qualcomm's X50 chip, which means it will draw less energy and will have less of an impact on battery life when connected to a 5G network.
Apple was originally planning to use Intel chips in its 2020 5G iPhones, but Intel is out of the smartphone chip business and Apple has no choice but to use Qualcomm's modem chips.
Apple aims to ship 80 million 5G-capable iPhones next year, claims the report. Apple typically ships between 75 and 80 million new iPhones each year, and it plans to close in on similar targets in 2020 and exploit 5G as a key sales driver, according to Nikkei.
"It will be the first time Apple introduces 5G iPhones ... There will be three of them and the company has set an aggressive sales target," one of the people familiar with the company's thinking said.
Apple's embrace of 5G is expected to push carriers such as AT&T and Verizon to accelerate their investment in the rollout of 5G infrastructure and catch up with China's rapidly accelerating 5G capabilities.
By 2025, London-based GSMA estimates that China will have 600 million 5G subscribers, or about 40 percent of the global total, notes Nikkei, citing a Financial Times report.
Today's report also corroborates previous rumors that Apple will switch to a 5-nanometer fabrication process for its A14 processor next year. Apple has used a 7nm process since the A12 Bionic chip debuted in 2018, and TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier.