Qualcomm CEO expects Apple’s 5G chip to launch next year

Qualcomm CEO expects Apple’s 5G chip to launch next year

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon, speaking at the MWC 2023 conference today, said Apple’s rumored 5G chip could be ready next year.

“We expect Apple to launch its own modem in 2024, but if they need our chips, they know where to find us,” Amon said in an interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Joanna Stern. The comment was shared by technical analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Qualcomm is currently the exclusive 5G modem supplier for Apple devices, including the entire iPhone 14 lineup, but Apple has been rumored to be designing its own 5G chips as an in-house replacement. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported last month that Apple initially planned to use the chip in just one new product, such as a high-end iPhone model, and phase out Qualcomm’s modems entirely after about three years.

Based on the 2024 timeline provided by Amon, Apple’s 5G chip could debut in at least one iPhone 16 model. Apple may also introduce 5G chips first in low-volume products, such as the iPad. It’s unclear how well Apple’s chips will perform compared to Qualcomm’s modems, but moving to an in-house design could reduce Apple’s production costs over time.

Meanwhile, all iPhone 15 models are expected to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 modem, a chip that offers further improvements in cellular speed and power efficiency compared to the Snapdragon X65 used in all iPhone 14 models. Qualcomm also recently announced its latest Snapdragon X75 modem, which may still be used in some of Apple’s future devices as it gradually transitions to its own 5G chips.

UPDATE: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted today that it’s uncertain whether the iPhone 16 models will feature Apple’s 5G chip. Kuo said it depends on whether Apple can overcome technical difficulties related to millimeter wave and satellite connections.

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