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The popularity of iPhone 12 models has led to soaring demand for Qualcomm's 5G modems and RF chips, helping to propel the chipmaker's revenues past that of rival Broadcom in the third quarter of 2020, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce.

qualcommx55.jpg

Qualcomm reported $4.9 billion revenue in the third quarter, a 37.6% increase over the year-ago quarter, compared to $4.6 billion for Broadcom. TrendForce said Qualcomm's "remarkable performance" is partly attributed to re-entering Apple's supply chain earlier this year, after the two companies settled a lawsuit last year.

Apple's rekindled partnership with Qualcomm might not be for good, however, as Bloomberg recently reported that Apple has started developing its own cellular modem for future iPhones. The info was reportedly shared by Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji at a town hall meeting with Apple employees, and the move was expected after Apple purchased the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business last year.

In a research note shared with MacRumors today, Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Thomas O'Malley, Tim Long, and their associates provided some additional details about Apple's in-house modem, claiming that the chip will be "very much a high-end modem" with support for ultra-fast mmWave 5G, as with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 modem in iPhone 12 models.

"We believe that Apple has actually been working on this 5G modem for over a year and that this is very much a high-end modem, including support and chipsets for mmWave," the analysts said. "We do not believe they are [working] on any RF components beyond the mmWave."

mmWave is a set of 5G frequencies that promise ultra-fast speeds at short distances, making it best suited for dense urban areas. By comparison, sub-6GHz 5G is generally slower than mmWave, but the signals travel further, better serving suburban and rural areas. mmWave support on iPhone 12 models is limited to the United States.

As part of their settlement in 2019, Apple and Qualcomm announced that they had reached a multiyear chipset supply agreement, so it likely that it will be at least a few more years until Apple's in-house modem appears in devices.

Article Link: iPhone 12 Demand Helps Boost Qualcomm's 5G Modem Revenue, But Apple Working on Own 'High-End' Modem
 

Eso

macrumors 68000
Aug 14, 2008
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Well, in the lawsuit that was recently settled between the two companies, Apple agreed to license their chips for 5 years. We won’t be seeing Apple modems for quite some time, regardless of when they are actually ready.
 
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jz0309

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Sep 25, 2018
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as was to be expected ...
Apple's efforts in the modem space will have tougher competition than what apple had with the M1/x processors, QCOM has been the leader and they will continue further enhancements etc etc. It will be really interesting how this is gong to shape out, I am expecting that the first apple modems will go into Macs ...
 
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edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
859
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Well, in the lawsuit that was recently settled between the two companies, Apple agreed to license their chips for 5 years. We won’t be seeing Apple modems for quite some time, regardless of when they are actually ready.
Maybe for iPhones. Maybe sooner for laptops and iPads.
 
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M1Buddy

macrumors newbie
Dec 7, 2020
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When will we get 5G on laptops and tablets?
I could see it on the iPads, but I don't believe cellular could be on Macs very soon.
A week ago Noah Herman uploaded a video talking about possible things that could happen on the 2021 iPad Pro
 
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4jasontv

macrumors 601
Jul 31, 2011
4,763
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Well, in the lawsuit that was recently settled between the two companies, Apple agreed to license their chips for 5 years. We won’t be seeing Apple modems for quite some time, regardless of when they are actually ready.
This is vaguely familiar. Did they agree to license them or use them?
 
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Hyperchaotic

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2005
163
185
Well, in the lawsuit that was recently settled between the two companies, Apple agreed to license their chips for 5 years. We won’t be seeing Apple modems for quite some time, regardless of when they are actually ready.

Hmm, we'll see. The 5 year license doesn't necessarily require Apple to buy a certain number of QC modems every year and Apple will probably aim for some overlap between their own modems and the license expiring to make sure they have options.

In any case, developing, testing and certifying a modem does take time but I'm sure they're keen to get to enjoy that close integration they could have with an in-house design..

Then when they start using their own modem, QC will sue for patents ofcourse.
 
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BaltimoreMediaBlog

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2015
1,117
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DC / Baltimore / Northeast
This is not news.

You're right. Now this is news and I wish Apple was working on this technology. The One Media modem chip in this ugly test phone is now real. This is not yet available for purchase and will probably not look like this either (I hope), but this 5G modem chip also receives ATSC 3.0 / live digital television over the air, up to 4K.
The service is only available in about 9 US markets so far but more rolling out every day. if Apple started testing this, now that would be BIG news. Unlike current DTV, this is IP based television too, so it's two-way communication with alternative content available. And it will have 5G also.
In July, New York State Senator Kevin Parker and Clyde Vanel (State Assembly Chairman, Internet and New Technology Subcommittee) introduced legislation (S8797) mandating inclusion of the 3.0 receiver chip in portable electronic devices defined in the bill as “any handheld mobile telephone… personal digital assistant (PDA), or handheld device with mobile data access.”
Apple better get working as that legislation, if passed, will require this capability by 2022. This will be required for the Emergency Alert System on Television on cell phones. By the way, this is free TV, but apparently some Pay Services will be allowed too.
Watching Live TV on a Cell Phone Demo
MarkOne.JPG
 
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TestUs

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2020
6
17
You're right. Now this is news and I wish Apple was working on this technology. The One Media modem chip in this ugly test phone is now real. This is not yet available for purchase and will probably not look like this either (I hope), but this 5G modem chip also receives ATSC 3.0 / live digital television over the air, up to 4K.
The service is only available in about 9 US markets so far but more rolling out every day. if Apple started testing this, now that would be BIG news. Unlike current DTV, this is IP based television too, so it's two-way communication with alternative content available. And it will have 5G also.
In July, New York State Senator Kevin Parker and Clyde Vanel (State Assembly Chairman, Internet and New Technology Subcommittee) introduced legislation (S8797) mandating inclusion of the 3.0 receiver chip in portable electronic devices defined in the bill as “any handheld mobile telephone… personal digital assistant (PDA), or handheld device with mobile data access.”
Apple better get working as that legislation, if passed, will require this capability by 2022. This will be required for the Emergency Alert System on Television on cell phones. By the way, this is free TV, but apparently some Pay Services will be allowed too.
Watching Live TV on a Cell Phone Demo
View attachment 1697042
I don't believe there's any chance that that legislation gets passed in that form and, if it eventually does get passed in any capacity, there's no chance it requires such functionality by 2022.
 
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haunebu

macrumors regular
Jun 2, 2004
161
590
California
Intel's modem team, which Apple acquired, was unable to produce a working 5G modem. To think that they'll suddenly be able to produce a working 5G modem and compete with Qualcomm is hilarious. Qualcomm is probably 5+ years ahead in this space. Will Apple be able to catch up? You never know... but it won't be for several years at least.

In the meantime, Qualcomm keeps pushing the envelope. May the most innovative team win.
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
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Hmm, we'll see. The 5 year license doesn't necessarily require Apple to buy a certain number of QC modems every year and Apple will probably aim for some overlap between their own modems and the license expiring to make sure they have options.

In any case, developing, testing and certifying a modem does take time but I'm sure they're keen to get to enjoy that close integration they could have with an in-house design..

Then when they start using their own modem, QC will sue for patents ofcourse.

Of course the agreement would require Apple to buy a minimum number of modems. Do you really think otherwise?

Remember, it was Apple who went crawling back to Qualcomm. Apple paid Qualcomm at least $4.5 billion as settlement. Why the heck would Qualcomm sign a contract that was favorable to Apple?

Do you recall how Apple paid Samsung $950 million for not meeting OLED purchase requirements? The exact same thing is in place with Qualcomm.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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When will we get 5G on laptops and tablets?

Decent chance 2021 versions of iPad Pro (and Air if gets a true refresh ) will have it.
If talking about when Apple will shift to their own .... that is a toss up. There are some rumors Apple might do a data only, discrete modem first.

As for laptops (in general ) . September 2020 Qualcomm announced.

https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon-8cx-gen-2-5g-compute-platform


[ There is some notions that Microsofts SQ2 in Surface Pro X Gen2 is this new chip without the newer features turned on. I'm not so sure. Usually a significant lag between when Qualcomm intro a new platform and when completed systems actually make it to the readily available retail market. )

But laptops have enough space for the two modem chip set up.



Similarly in the pipeline....

https://corp.mediatek.com/news-even...nership-to-bring-5g-to-next-generation-of-pcs

The virtual 2021CES ( consumer electronics) show is coming in 4 weeks ( January 11-14 ) . The breadth of the products in this subset of the laptop space should be more clear by the end of that show. Vendors showed some at CES 2020

https://www.androidauthority.com/dell-latitude-9510-1069600/

so there will probably be more at CES 2021 with "better" modems.



As for Mac Laptops with 5G in Mac M-series SoCs, Probably not until the iPad Pro SoC gets 5G modem integrated. I Doubt is in a hurry. And once USB external modems become more common... even less "pressure".


edit: oops forgot to add above in tablet section. general market tablets 5G already rolled out.

 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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In any case, developing, testing and certifying a modem does take time but I'm sure they're keen to get to enjoy that close integration they could have with an in-house design..

Then when they start using their own modem, QC will sue for patents ofcourse.

The current agreement that Apple has with Qualcomm covers some patent licensing. The basic mechanism for Qualcomm to continue to collect patent money is already in place. It may need some adjustments in 5 years, but the basic ground work is there. Going to the courthouse isn't particularly necessary or inevitable at all.

Samsung , Mediatek , Intel ... all shipped modems with Qualcomm patents without dumping multiple of millions of dollars on lawyer fees. When Apple bought Intel's modem business they should have picked up the paper work to stay out of court with Qualcomm along with it.

Paying Qualcomm for the patent tech isn't the part that Apple really bristled about. It was paying a percentage of the cost of the overall device price to customers that Apple seriously didn't like. ( taking a piece of the overall actions. ... ). Of course, a bit like the pot calling the kettle black from the perspective of the App stores.
 
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dszakal

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2020
24
173
My main reason for switching to the iPhone 12 this year is the modem finally being Qualcomm. Had enough of dropping calls and networks on subpar signal strength. (Okay, my other reason was my fear of the portless model next year, if that's the direction, iPhone 12 Mini is my last iPhone ever)

On the other hand: I am aware how unfair Qualcomm was with the pricing before the Apple vs Qualcomm lawsuit and their agreement.
 
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PickUrPoison

macrumors G3
Sep 12, 2017
8,131
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Sunnyvale, CA
Of course the agreement would require Apple to buy a minimum number of modems. Do you really think otherwise?

Remember, it was Apple who went crawling back to Qualcomm. Apple paid Qualcomm at least $4.5 billion as settlement. Why the heck would Qualcomm sign a contract that was favorable to Apple?

Do you recall how Apple paid Samsung $950 million for not meeting OLED purchase requirements? The exact same thing is in place with Qualcomm.
The license agreement is separate from the chipset supply agreement.

wrt the supply agreement, Apple committed to using the X55 in this year’s launch, the X60 next year, and the X65 or X70 for the 2022-2023 model years. So it seems Apple thinks they might have their chip ready for 2023, which might be a little optimistic. Qualcomm is willing to supply all the chips apple wishes to buy, but there’s no public info available re: minimum order quantities.

re: the license agreement, presumably it was for access to Qualcomm’s entire portfolio, which Apple may very well wish to continue licensing for use in their own chips. Or they may choose only to license the standards-essential patents, who knows.
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
7,526
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The license agreement is separate from the chipset supply agreement.

wrt the supply agreement, Apple committed to using the X55 in this year’s launch, the X60 next year, and the X65 or X70 for the 2022-2023 model years. So it seems Apple thinks they might have their chip ready for 2023, which might be a little optimistic. Qualcomm is willing to supply all the chips apple wishes to buy, but there’s no public info available re: minimum order quantities.

re: the license agreement, presumably it was for access to Qualcomm’s entire portfolio, which Apple may very well wish to continue licensing for use in their own chips. Or they may choose only to license the standards-essential patents, who knows.

It's common sense to expect a minimum order quantity from Qualcomm. Just like Samsung demanded a minimum order quantity. To put it simply, Qualcomm had Apple by the balls. It would be naive to expect otherwise.
 
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PickUrPoison

macrumors G3
Sep 12, 2017
8,131
10,721
Sunnyvale, CA
It's common sense to expect a minimum order quantity from Qualcomm. Just like Samsung demanded a minimum order quantity. To put it simply, Qualcomm had Apple by the balls. It would be naive to expect otherwise.
Minimum order quantity is guaranteed by virtue of being in all the new model year iPhones. I do wonder what kind of discount Apple’s going to get for ordering an unexpected 30-50 million units though (if iPhone sales really do hit 250+ million).
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,688
16,206
Central U.S.
For as much crap Intel’s modems get on these forums and elsewhere, I haven’t noticed improvement going from the iPhone 11 Pro to iPhone 12 Pro. Reception seems about the same and 5G isn’t any faster. As a matter of fact, I just ran a speed test on 5G and then LTE connected to the same local server and got 15Mbps on 5G and 18Mbps on LTE. I remember when I first got the iPhone 5 right after LTE launched in my area getting 20-30Mbps. I don’t get the hype around 5G or the complaints around Intel modems. I don’t live in a crowded area either but also don’t live in some backwoods with gigabit at my house. I live in a good sized college town and the college kids were all sent home early because of the virus and it’s still running slow.
 
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Tech198

macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
15,910
2,147
Australia, Perth
Not soon enough... Someone's ticked off with someone. Intel's done it, so they don't have the burden to waiting for anyone else.. now Apple will be doing it too.
 
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