Apple will continue to rely on Qualcomm's 5G modem-RF chips on its iPhones for a few more years after an official statement was released by the latter, indicating a renewed partnership with Apple until 2026. The timing of this announcement means the iPhone 16, iPhone 17, and iPhone 18 would use Qualcomm's modems instead of Apple's custom chips.
- Also read: Flagship mobile SoCs compared
The iPhone manufacturer was earlier rumored to be developing its custom 5G chips which they will integrate with an in-house Bionic SoC and see action in future iPhones. It was even expected that the 2024 iPhone 16 will be the first to feature this radio chip from the company, eventually ditching modems from Qualcomm.
However, an official press release from Qualcomm confirmed it has inked a new deal with Apple to supply the latter with its RF modems over a 3-year period which will run from 2024 to 2026, suggesting the iPhone 16 is going to use Qualcomm's 5G modems. This obviously put a stop to the rumors.
It remains unclear what the situation will be like once the deal expires. However, it is safe to say Apple will eventually ditch Qualcomm as its supplier and introduce custom modems for its iPhones. They could also expand the use of its broadband chips to other devices like the iPad and Apple Watches.
Beyond future iPhones, Apple is set to announce the iPhone 15 range today, which will most likely feature a new Qualcomm modem-RF system based on the Snapdragon X75 series. The modem is discreetly installed and is separate from the Bionic mobile chipset, which is unlike most Android smartphones that come with the modem built on the main chipset.
Do you think it would be beneficial for Apple to have a custom modem on its devices? We'd like to hear your opinion on this matter.