Qualcomm Unveils 5G Snapdragon X70 Modem That May Appear in 2023 iPhones

Qualcomm has unveiled its new 5G Snapdragon X70 modem, which is likely to be the last Qualcomm modem to be used by Apple in its iPhones before it switches to in-house custom-designed chips.

qualcomm snapdragon x70
Qualcomm says its latest 5G modem for smartphones includes "the world's first 5G AI processor integrated in a 5G Modem-RF System," which is supposed to increase the average download and uplink speeds on mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. From the company's press release:

Snapdragon X70 inherits the unrivaled 10 Gigabit 5G peak download speed of its predecessor and packs in new, advanced capabilities such as Qualcomm 5G AI Suite, Qualcomm 5G Ultra-Low Latency Suite and 4X carrier aggregation to achieve unmatched 5G speeds, coverage, signal quality and low latency. The Qualcomm 5G Ultra-Low Latency Suite in Snapdragon X70 allows OEMs and operators to minimize latency for hyper-responsive 5G user experiences and applications.

"Our 5th generation modem-RF system extends our global 5G leadership and the introduction of native 5G AI processing creates a platform and inflection point for performance-enhancing innovations," said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 5G, Mobile Broadband and Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Snapdragon X70 is an example of how we're realizing the full potential of 5G and making an intelligently connected world possible."

According to the company, the Snapdragon X70 can reach up to 10Gbps downlink speed and a peak 3.5Gbps upload speed, and yet it is up to 60% more power efficient, due to its 5G PowerSave Gen 3 technology. The modem also includes support for global 5G multi-SIM and Dual-SIM Dual Active.

The Snapdragon X70 modem is expected to launch in 5G devices by the end of this year, although that doesn't necessarily mean it will appear in the iPhone 14, or indeed any future iPhone.

In a 2020 agreement to dismiss a long-running legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, a settlement filing revealed that Apple has committed to using X65 and X70 modems in products launched between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024, which would seem to suggest the X65 will be used in the ‌iPhone 14‌, while the just-announced X70 modem will be in Apple's 2023 ‌iPhone‌ series.

However, other reports have suggested Apple will have its own custom-designed 5G modem ready for use in 2023 iPhone models, so it's not entirely clear where the X70 fits in. Apple could end up using its own chips in most regions, and rely on Qualcomm for X70 chips in certain areas (or certain models), which could explain why Qualcomm says it is expecting to supply just 20% of Apple's ‌iPhone‌ modems in 2023. When Apple's agreement with Qualcomm ends, Apple will switch to its own custom-designed cellular modem for all future devices.

Rumors in early 2019 suggested that Apple was planning to design a modem in-house, and in mid-2019, Apple purchased the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business to accelerate its own development efforts. Apple took over Intel's modem-related intellectual property and hired 2,200 Intel employees, and it has already lined up its main chip manufacturing partner TSMC to begin producing the majority of its new in-house modem chips.

Tags: 5G, Qualcomm

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Top Rated Comments

DBZmusicboy01 Avatar
29 months ago
5G is a MAJOR letdown in Suburban and Rural areas :/
Even in the Cities it struggles in certain spots. It's EXTREMELY limited. 5G in many ways is a step backwards from LTE.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jim Lahey Avatar
29 months ago
I still don’t see any need for this sort of thing unless you spend all day on Speedtest.net. To be fair I get that other people will use their phone differently than myself, but are these insane speeds really worth the abominated, battleship grey eyesores that are being erected on every other street corner in every other town and city? Personally I don’t think so, but others will disagree.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
29 months ago

Why would a 5G chip need AI?
Auto tuning between different frequency and signals.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
velocityg4 Avatar
29 months ago

Are people supposed to get excited about a 10Gbit network for their PHONE?

To download a 100KB instagram pic 10x faster within 0.00001 seconds instead of 0.0001 seconds?
Peak speed is really a horrible metric for cell services. Beyond 50mbps. You aren't likely to notice a difference on a mobile phone or tablet. Assuming true and reliable 50mbps.

I'm more interested in
- What's the performance at 1-2 bars in comparison to the current system?
- What's the performance during peak usage hours?
- Does it offer better range from towers?
- Does it penetrate buildings better?

That's where people have their issues. Not how fast the phone is at 5M from the tower when they are the only person connected.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
29 months ago
I thought Apple were suppose to have its own modem by 2021 / 2022 and 2023....

So is it 2024 now ?

/s


which could explain why Qualcomm says it is expecting to supply just 20% ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/11/16/qualcomm-2023-modem-chips-iphone/')
That was not what Qualcomm said, it was a forecast. Not expectation.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bigfatipod Avatar
29 months ago

Auto tuning between different frequency and signals.
I’m not sure why AI would used vs traditional code. It seems like marketing more than anything.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)