Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon says the top priority of his company’s relationship with Apple is to launch a new 5G iPhone as fast as possible. The new 5G-equipped iPhones are expected to debut next September.
“Priority number one of this relationship with Apple is how to launch their phone as fast as we can. That’s the priority,” Amon said. His comments came during Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit this week, reports PCMag.
Amon said that considering the time restraints involved, the first 5G iPhone might not include all of Qualcomm’s RF front end. (An RF front-end includes the circuitry between components like the antenna and receiver and it is important for boosting the signal from networks.)
Apple will instead likely use its own modem technology and components as well as Qualcomm’s modems in next year’s iPhone lineup. However, Apple will require Qualcomm millimeter wave antenna modules as its modules are the only ones that work with Verizon and AT&T’s 5G networks at this time.
Currently, it is expected that Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup will offer 5G connectivity, although a recent rumor indicated that not all new iPhones will support both kinds of 5G technology, mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G.
The rumor indicates Apple’s higher-end devices may be able to handle mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, while the lower-cost devices may be limited to sub-6GHz 5G.
mmWave is the fastest 5G technology, but has as limited range, likely limiting its use in urban areas. Sub-6GHz 5G is slower than mmWave 5G, but faster than 4G, and will work in suburban and rural areas, due to its greater range.
Apple and Qualcomm settled a long-running legal dispute back in April, and signed a multi-year contract that will see Apple using Qualcomm modems, at least for the next few years. Apple recently purchased most of Intel’s smartphone modem business, with an eye to eventually manufacturing its own 5G smartphone modems.