Apple’s iPhone 15 lineup is shaping up to be the most exciting in years, but one of its most anticipated features now seems highly unlikely.
According to a new DigiTimes report, all iPhone 15 models will come exclusively with 5G modems developed by Qualcomm. The news shattered lingering rumors that Apple might be able to ship the first generation of its much-anticipated in-house 5G modem.
According to DigiTimes, TSMC will be the main manufacturer of the Qualcomm modem that is believed to be the upcoming X70 and it will be manufactured using the 5nm and 4nm processes.
Things have been looking bleak for Apple’s modem division for some time. The division, which Apple acquired from Intel for $1 billion in 2019, was set to mass-produce iPhone 5G modems by 2023. Qualcomm previously said it only plans to ship up to 20% of iPhone modems by that date, though it upgraded that estimate to the “vast majority” of iPhone 5G modem chips in an earnings report last month.
However, the news that Apple won’t be making any iPhone 5G modems at all in 2023 will come as a major blow to Apple’s chip teams, especially given their exceptional track record with the A- and M-series chips. Earlier this year, Bloomberg claimed that overheating was the biggest issue facing Apple’s modem team.
Thoughts will now return to a July report by influential industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which claimed development of Apple’s 5G modem “may have failed.” A conclusion that was viewed with some skepticism at the time.
The good news is that Qualcomm’s X70 has been dubbed a “game changer.” This is due to the use of standalone mmWave 5G (with speeds up to 8.3 gigabits per second), sub-6 GHz carrier aggregation (with speeds up to 6.0 Gbps in more widespread 5G spectrums) and Smart Transmit 3.0 technology, an upgradable system-level feature that improves power management.
Leaks surrounding Apple’s iPhone 15 range have also revealed a number of impressive design and feature upgrades. So much so that if you’re still undecided about buying an iPhone 14 model (especially given the ongoing problems) I’d strongly recommend waiting for the 2023 successor – even if another price hike is likely.
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