The first 5G iPhone is expected to launch next September, complete with a design makeover as well as several other notable upgrades. That’s what rumors say, as Apple isn’t going to reveal any iPhone secrets until next September. Of all iPhone 12 rumors out there, the one that makes the most sense concerns 5G support. As always, the iPhone was absent from the first wave of 5G devices, but Apple likely doesn’t want to delay the 5G iPhone for too long. And Qualcomm seems to agree, as the company just said that it’s working to make the iPhone 5G a reality “as fast as we can.”
“Priority number one of this relationship with Apple is how to launch their phone as fast as we can,” Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said at the company’s Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii, according to PCMag. “That’s the priority,” he added.
After working with Intel on its 5G roadmap, Apple inked a new deal with Qualcomm in April, when it also settled its legal matters with the chipmaker. However, Amon suggested that the work on the 5G iPhone may have started too late.
“We have a multi-year agreement with [Apple.] It’s … multi-year for our Snapdragon modem,” he said. “We’re setting no expectations on front end, especially because we engaged it very late.”
At the same time, Amon said that Qualcomm “is very happy with the progress we’re making,” and he expects that Apple is “going to have a great device.”
5G phones don’t only need a brand new type of modem, but also a complex system of antennas that can handle the new 5G networks. From Amon’s remarks, it sounds like Apple might use the RF front end (antennas, signal tunes, and power amplifiers) from different providers together with Qualcomm’s 5G modem.
As the report notes, Apple has done this before with its iPhone, partnering with other suppliers for front-end components. Previous iPhone models fell behind their Android rivals when it comes to LTE speed and signal strength in real-life tests, but that hasn’t stopped Apple from selling hundreds of millions of devices per year.
However, Apple might use some Qualcomm components, the report notes, as Qualcomm is the only supplier of mmWave antennas that work both with Verizon and AT&T. Interestingly, the iPhone 12 is rumored to work on all 5G bands.
If all goes well, and if Apple sticks to its September iPhone launch schedule, then the iPhone 12 could be the first iPhone series to support 5G out of the box.