In April 2019, Apple and Qualcomm announced an agreement to dismiss a long-running legal battle between the two companies worldwide, paving the way for Apple to use Qualcomm’s 5G modems for its iPhone 12 lineup and beyond.
Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X60 modem is built on a 5nm process
A teardown video shared earlier today revealed that Apple is using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 modem in iPhone 12 models, and beyond that, we have now uncovered Apple’s roadmap for Qualcomm modems in future products.
As alerted to us by Danny Walsh on Twitter, page 71 of an Apple-Qualcomm settlement filing reveals that Apple intends to launch new products with the Snapdragon X60 modem between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. Apple has also committed to using as-yet-unannounced X65 and X70 modems in products launched between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024.
From the settlement document:
Apple intends to commercially launch (i) New Models of Apple Products during the time period between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021 (the “2020 Launch”), some of which use the SDX55 Qualcomm Chipset, (ii) New Models of Apple Products during the time period between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022 (the “2021 Launch”), some of which use the SDX60 Qualcomm Chipset, and (iii) New Models of Apple Products during the time period between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024 (the “2022/23 Launch”), some of which use the SDX65 or SDX70 Qualcomm Chipsets (each a “Launch” and collectively the “Launches”).
While these settlement details are over a year old, Apple’s roadmap for Qualcomm modems in future products went largely under the radar.
Built on a 5nm process, the X60 modem packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the X55. Smartphones equipped with the X60 will also be able to aggregate data from both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands simultaneously to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage.
When it introduced the X60 modem in February 2020, Qualcomm said that 5G smartphones featuring the chip would begin launching in 2021, so it is a prime candidate for inclusion in next year’s iPhones as Apple’s roadmap suggests.