DigiTimes Claims 2020 iPhones Will Use Qualcomm X60 Modem, Despite Previous Rumors Agreeing on X55

Apple is widely expected to release its first 5G iPhones later this year, and multiple sources have indicated that these models will be equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 modem, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and the Nikkei Asian Review.

qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g
To the contrary, a paywalled snippet from DigiTimes today claims that Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC will begin manufacturing A14 chips and Snapdragon X60 modems this month for use in upcoming iPhones slated for launch later in 2020. This is the first time that we have seen this possibility mentioned.

TSMC to start chip production for next-gen iPhones in June
TSMC will start manufacturing Apple's custom-designed A14 SoCs and Qualcomm's X60 5G modem chips, with both set to power the upcoming iPhones slated for launch later in 2020, using 5nm process technology in June, according to industry sources.

Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the X55. Smartphones equipped with the X60 will also be able to aggregate data from both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands simultaneously to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage.

When the X60 was introduced in February, it seemed destined for 2021 iPhones rather than 2020 ones, as Apple needs adequate time for testing and production. Qualcomm itself said that 5G smartphones featuring the X60 are expected to begin launching in early 2021, so this rumor should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism for now.

DigiTimes is a Taiwanese publication with sources within Apple's supply chain. The website is often dismissed as being wrong, but it shares correct information from time to time. In January, for example, it claimed that Apple planned to release a backlit keyboard with scissor switch keys for the iPad Pro. Two months later, the Magic Keyboard launched.

Apple typically announces new iPhones in September, but due to the global health crisis, there is a possibility of a slight delay to the launch plans.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

JPack Avatar
9 months ago
That's completely unrealistic.

First, 5nm capacity doesn't come from thin air. And if Qualcomm were shipping X60 today, they wouldn't tell everyone they expect the first smartphones to arrive in 2021.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
9 months ago

I'd guess that if this is true then 120hz is also in the cards because of the increased power efficiency in the X60.

I'm skeptical of this rumor though. If Qualcomm was shipping them for a phone this fall, they wouldn't tell people that they are arriving in 2021 as a previous poster said.
Apple's not just a regular company though. I can see Qualcomm having a special secret arrangement with Apple for exclusive access to the first initial batches in the fall making them unavailable for anyone else until early 2021.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xpxp2002 Avatar
9 months ago

Not sure I understand this sentence. Is mmWave higher latency for some reason?
It's not. 5G NR is lower latency than LTE. The band doesn't really make a difference.

The benefit of sub-6 + mmWave is that you'll get seamless coverage from the lower band while seeing improved speeds when mmWave is available. Letting devices use both will help carriers manage capacity, as mmWave will quickly drop off as people go from walking about outside to inside a building.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
9 months ago

Whatever 5G modem gets used- it'll be old tech by next year
whatever components get used. period. will be old tech by next year
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CWallace Avatar
9 months ago
Sounds reasonable that Apple would use the X60 is it is a superior platform available to them. They don't jump on the latest tech for the sake of meeting a spec sheet, but prefer to wait a bit to adopt and make it useful.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NickName99 Avatar
9 months ago
Sounds like going with the X60 would at least delay release of the iPhone 12, assuming no serious issues came up. Seems like a lot of risk for a small amount of benefit.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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