In a surprising note, Apple and Qualcomm have ended their two-years-long legal battle and come to an agreement.
As part of the settlement, Apple will an undisclosed amount to the Qualcomm. Also, Apple has entered a six-years-long global patent licensing agreement which can be extended two more years. Also, Qualcomm will supply parts for the new Apple iPhone. That means it will solve Apple’s 5G modem issue.
Back 2017 Apple argued that Qualcomm was charging too much for patent and left partnership with Qualcomm. After Apple shifted to using Intel chips, Qualcomm moved to get iPhone imports banned in countries around the world for patent infringement.
Neither Apple or Qualcomm released any statement about why settlement occurred. But it is speculated that Apple is concern about Intel’s ability to supply 5G modem before 2020 deadline. With this settlement, Apple ensures that they can easily release their 5G iPhone in 2020. You can Apple newsroom article here.
Currently, most of the 5G mobile phone including Samsung S10 5G is powered by Qualcomm modem. Now Apple will also have the option to join the early. But with almost 5 months left for new iPhone to debut, it is highly unlikely that we may see 5G model this time. So we may not see 5G iPhone before 2020. Despite everything that happened, the timeline for 5G iPhone is still unchanged.
Now the question is will Apple only rely on Qualcomm for 5G modem? Probably not. We have seen that Apple discussed with Samsung and MediaTek over 5G modem. Even Apple’s one of the biggest rivals Huawei is open to negotiate a deal with Apple. But in the long run, Apple might be planning to design its own 5G modem.