Apple leaks have already claimed some surprising iPhone 15 upgrades are coming in 2023. But now a new report says that one of the most anticipated may not be released for several years.
In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu reveals that Apple’s first in-house 5G modem is unlikely to be ready for the iPhone 15 launch. Moreover, the analyst says it may even miss the iPhone 16 launch in 2024.
This news is a surprise given that Apple purchased Intel’s 5G smartphone modem business for $1BN back in July 2019, and Intel modems were already used in smartphones worldwide, including the iPhone 11 range. Yes, tests had shown them to be inferior to Qualcomm modems, but there was nothing to suggest a 5-year market absence would be required to make them more competitive.
Moreover, the news is something of a blow for iPhone fans. Apple has long shown the benefits of its tightly integrated chips, and in-house Apple modems would be expected to deliver significant performance and power efficiency gains compared to Qualcomm’s off-the-shelf X-range, which is also used by most Android rivals.
That said, it is not all bad news. While Qualcomm’s first 5G modems were criticized for their high power consumption, newer models have improved dramatically. Notably, Forbes Senior Contributor David Altavilla described Qualcomm’s upcoming X70 as a ‘Game Changer.’
This is due to its use of standalone mmWave 5G (capable of speeds up to 8.3 gigabits per second), sub-6GHz carrier aggregation (delivering speeds of up to 6.0Gbps on more widely available 5G spectrums), and ‘Smart Transmit 3.0’ technology, an upgradable system-level feature which improves power management.
Given the delays to Apple’s in-house modems, the X70 is now essentially a lock for the iPhone 15, after the iPhone 12, 13 and 14 ranges used the X55, X60 and X65 modems, respectively.
Unlike its predecessor, the iPhone 15 lineup is expected to feature a unified design utilizing the Dynamic Island and replace the Lightning port with USB-C ahead of its enforcement by the European Union in 2024. But there are fears that prices will rise again.
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