With truce declared between Qualcomm and Apple in 2019, it was felt that things were settled and Apple’s iPhone 12 models for 5G application will have the X55 modems to be supplied by Qualcomm. The latest rumors indicate that things are not going as planned and that Apple may have decided to handle the making of the antenna on its own. These reports say there are some issues, though the exact nature of the issue is not known, except that it may have to do with the power amplifying components.
It was expected to be a Package with Modem and Antenna
Those in the know explain that when Apple and Qualcomm signed up, it was understood that Qualcomm would supply Apple with the full complement of what is required to make the iPhone 5G-enabled. Since Apple uses its own chipsets as a processor, the modem (X55) and the antenna (QTM 525) would have had to come from Qualcomm. What is now in the public domain is a note written by Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo, in which he claims there are technical issues accommodating the QTM 525 antenna in the iPhone 12 design that Apple has finalized for this year’s iPhone models. There is as yet no confirmation on this though. The subsequent comments appearing online appear to suggest Apple has decided to work on the antenna internally.
At the core of the issue could be the design architecture that Apple follows with its iPhones. It is a proprietary design and a bit complicated as well. Apple wants to make its iPhone 12 models capable of operating in both the mmWave environment as well as the sub-6GHz environment. It is possible the overall configuration, with the X55 modem and the QTM 525 antenna, along with the internal architecture of the devices, is not matching up. Many of these commentators conclude by saying that when push comes to shove, there will be peace and the 2019 agreement will stand and Apple will work around the issue.
The Years Ahead May be Different
One of the outcomes of the agreement entered into between Apple and Qualcomm last year was that Intel shut down its 5G modem plant and Apple acquired it. There is no update on what progress the chip-making unit is doing under Apple’s management. Some reports claim it will be 2022 before Apple gets its own 5G modem that will have the antenna integrated into it, from this plant.
Subject to confirmation, it can be assumed that there may be technical issues with regard to the QTM 525 antenna. However, the companies may sort them out and launch the phones as planned.