Post the settlement between Apple and Qualcomm, Ming-Chi Kuo now believes that Apple will be launching a 5G iPhone in 2020. What’s interesting is that apart from Qualcomm, Apple will also be sourcing 5G modem from Samsung.
By dual sourcing 5G modem from Qualcomm and Samsung, Apple will be able to lower its supply-chain risks and gain better bargaining power.
It is surprising to see Apple source 5G modem from Samsung for its 2020 iPhones. Apple already relies heavily on Samsung for its NAND chips and OLED display requirements and with the addition of the 5G modem, Apple will be sourcing a number of key iPhone components from one of its major competitor in the smartphone market.
Up until last week, Apple was widely believed to be relying on a 5G modem from Intel for its 2020 iPhone. However, Intel engineers were facing development issues which cast doubts on whether Apple would indeed manage to release a 5G iPhone in 2020 or not. However, since Qualcomm and Apple ended their patent feud out of court last week and signed a six-year chip agreement, Kuo now believes Apple will make use of Qualcomm’s 5G modem in its 2020 iPhone.
Apple will be using Qualcomm’s mmWave spectrum 5G modem and rely on Samsung’s modem for markets where 5G has been deployed in the sub-5GHz channel.
The launch of 5G iPhones will lead to more consumers upgrading to a new iPhone in 2020 than normal. Due to this, Kuo expects Apple to ship anywhere around 195-200 million iPhones in 2020 compared to 188-192 million iPhones in 2019. Out of this, Apple will ship around 70-75 million 2020 iPhones that will launch towards the end of Q3. As for the 2019 iPhone 11, Kuo expects Apple to ship around 65-70 million units.
It is not surprising that post its settlement, Apple intends on using Qualcomm’s 5G modem inside its 2020 iPhone. Qualcomm is the undisputed leader in the smartphone modem wireless market and it has already announced its second-gen 5G mmWave modem while the likes of Huawei and Samsung have just gotten around to releasing their first 5G modem.
Apple is working on its own 5G modem as well but that is likely still a few years away from seeing the light of the day. Until then, Apple is going to rely on Qualcomm and Samsung for its 5G needs.