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Apple's own 5G modem expected to land as soon as 2022

Apple will be producing a 5G iPhone by 2020, TF International Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo believes, but Apple could complete development of its own 5G modem and do without Qualcomm's version by 2022 or 2023.

Qualcomm's 5G hardware

Qualcomm's 5G hardware


Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that while Apple's first 5G iPhones will have a Qualcomm modem. Kuo suggests that Apple's 5G modem could launch in an iPhone in 2022 or 2023.

"We believe that the content of Apple and Qualcomm's previous settlement includes Qualcomm's release of partly 5G baseband chip source code to Apple for Apple's development of its own 5G PA/FEM," Kuo writes.

For Qualcomm's modem, Apple is thought to use its self-designed power amplifier and front-end module, instead of Qualcomm's RF360 By using its own modified amplifier and module, Apple can lay the groundwork to more easily add its own version in a future update to the product line.

A two-year supply deal with Broadcom is thought to help by modifying the 4G power amplifier for 5G usage, as well as helping Apple develop the 5G baseband chip itself.

It is thought the 5G iPhone will support both sub-6GHz and frequencies above 6Ghz, due to the US being Apple's home market. The mainstream technology for 5G in the United States is said to be mmWave, which would require the higher-than-6GHz frequencies to be supported, making a sub-6GHz-only iPhone unlikely.

For the 2020 iPhones, Kuo thinks they will consist of a high-end 6.7-inch OLED model along with a 5.4-inch OLED and low-end 6.1-inch OLED version. Of the three, the 6.7-inch and 5.4-inch will likely support 5G while the third will stick to 4G technologies.