Qualcomm President: Priority Number One is Launching Apple's 5G iPhone as Fast as Possible

Apple and Qualcomm are working to launch a new 5G iPhone as fast as possible, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Tech Summit this week, reports PCMag.

The main goal of Qualcomm's renewed relationship with Apple is to get the iPhone launched on time, with rumors suggesting Apple's 5G iPhones are going to come in the fall of 2020. "Priority number one of this relationship with Apple is how to launch their phone as fast as we can. That's the priority," said Amon.


Given the need to get the phone out at the proper time, Amon said that while the first ‌5G iPhone‌ will use Qualcomm modems, it might not include all of Qualcomm's RF front end. An RF front-end includes the circuitry between components like the antenna and receiver and it is important for boosting signal from various networks.

As PCMag points out, Qualcomm has called its newest Snapdragon modem chip a "modem-RF system," suggesting that eking out the best signal requires Qualcomm-created RF front-end components.

Apple instead will likely use its own technology and components alongside Qualcomm's modems in its 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup, which is something that the company has also done in prior years, but Apple will need to use Qualcomm millimeter wave antenna modules as it manufactures the only components that work with Verizon and AT&T's 5G networks at this time.

Right now, rumors suggest all of Apple's iPhones coming in 2020 will use 5G, though one rumor yesterday indicated that not all iPhones may support both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, the two kinds of 5G technology that are in the works.

Higher-end devices may be able to take advantage of mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, while there's a possibility that Apple's more affordable devices will be limited to the sub-6GHz networks.

mmWave is the fastest 5G technology, but given its limited range, it's likely to be limited to major cities and urban areas. Sub-6GHz 5G is slower than mmWave 5G, but it will be able to be used in suburban and rural areas, and will still offer speeds faster than 4G LTE.

Apple and Qualcomm settled their long running legal dispute in April and inked a multi-year contract that will see Apple using Qualcomm modems in its devices going forward. Apple was forced to come to an agreement with Qualcomm after Intel was unable to meet Apple's modem needs.

Intel ultimately sold most of its smartphone modem business in July, and while Apple is working on its own modem chips, it will be reliant on Qualcomm in the near future. Given the late settlement between Apple and Qualcomm, the two have had to rush to get Qualcomm technology ready for 2020 iPhones.
"We re-engaged probably later than both of us would like, and I think we've been working together to try to get as much as possible done, and take as much possible advantage of what they've done before so that we can actually launch a phone on schedule with 5G," Amon said.
Amon went on to say that Qualcomm has a "multi-year agreement" with Apple. "We're setting no expectations on front end, especially because we engaged it very late," Amon explained. Overall, Amon said that he's "very happy" with the progress that's being made. "I expect that they're going to have a great device."

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

12 weeks ago
Apple's #1 priority -- launching a non-Qualcomm phone as fast as possible
Rating: 37 Votes
12 weeks ago
Telecoms are like cats--You never know whether they are fighting or making love.
Rating: 12 Votes
12 weeks ago


The race is on! Apparently...

But, why?

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/23/18637213/5g-race-us-leadership-china-fcc-lte

It's an artificial race. It doesn't matter who's first because at the end of the day all major economies will transition to 5g regardless. Did anyone really care who transitioned to 4G LTE firs? Nope.
Rating: 9 Votes
12 weeks ago
Testing and validation of the baseband normally takes 12-18 months. Qualcomm and Apple settled in April 2019. Ramping of new iPhone begins in July 2020 and mass production is in August 2020. That's one heck of a rush.
Rating: 9 Votes
12 weeks ago


Apple and Qualcomm settled their long running legal dispute ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/04/16/apple-qualcomm-settlement/') in April and inked a multi-year contract that will see Apple using Qualcomm modems in its devices going forward. Apple was forced to come to an agreement with Qualcomm after Intel was unable to meet Apple's modem needs


That's your take on it/opinion, did MR sit at the negotiation table?
Qualcomm felt the heat, they lost several cases and IIRC there are still running cases against Qualcomm regarding their unfair business practises.
Rating: 8 Votes
12 weeks ago
Qualcomm knows where the money is.

When the iPhone launches with 5G it will take over as the best selling 5G device in the world in only a few months.
Rating: 8 Votes
12 weeks ago
So this is going to be a rush job, with incomplete features? Noted! I will make sure not to buy one then!
Rating: 6 Votes
12 weeks ago
If I'm "Reading the Tea Leaves" correctly, the 2020 iPhones will NOT be released in Sept 2020 !

They may be announced in Sept 2020, but sounds like release could be months later.

And, it sounds like Qualcomm does NOT want to get blamed for any delay, so they put this out there !

Disclaimer: I am an EE who has worked at Qualcomm.
Rating: 5 Votes
12 weeks ago
I’m just happy to get a modem that works in low signal areas.
Rating: 4 Votes
12 weeks ago


It's an artificial race. It doesn't matter who's first because at the end of the day all major economies will transition to 5g regardless. Did anyone really care who transitioned to 4G LTE firs? Nope.


The article is flawed in that it looks at a tiny slice of the wireless industry, the carrier part. The authors are popular-media journalists who are ignorant of the actual hardware and probably never heard of 3/4 of the companies involved. The simple fact is that American companies need to design and produce the best 5G components and capture the market before China can.

Qualcomm is the world's dominant supplier of LTE chipsets for both handsets and base stations. A ton of American companies make LTE RF components like Qorvo (Triquint, RFMD), Anadigics, Broadcom (Avago). Keysight dominates the test of all of these components. These companies obviously need to transition to 5G to maintain their positions.

Cisco, Ciena, Infinera all make money selling the optical backhaul necessary for 5G. Cisco, Juniper, and Brocade will be selling more core routers and switches. Broadcom (legacy) chips go into all of these.

Even NVidia is getting in on the game by processing 5G on their GPUs and Intel has been integrating packet processors for network function virtualization.

As a perfect example of not changing, Ericsson and Nokia aren't going to be able to sell most of their hardware anymore. Carriers will be running 5G software base stations on HP Enterprise cloud servers with GPUs and Intel chips.

I personally know a number of these companies are paying for research at American universities and thus training future engineers. They are the companies who create engineering jobs. If you want to make a big fuss about STEM in America, then it's critical that this American engineering ecosystem remain successful by producing and selling market-leading products.
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]