Apple has had plans to launch a 5G iPhone for some time now but the plan hasn’t materialized yet as expected. The American company had hoped to leverage on Qualcomm processors for this latest generation of phones but the chip maker is refusing to sell them. This has affected Apple’s plans to shift to 5G phones massively. These details were revealed during a testimony by Apple’s Operating Chief Jeff Williams. However, Qualcomm will still continue to offer chips for Apple’s older iPhone models including the iPhone 7, the 7 Plus etc. Williams was testifying in front of the US Federal Trade Commission in a trial against Qualcomm.
The two companies have been embroiled in legal battles over patents in recent months and this is perhaps the main reason why Qualcomm is holding out with its chips. Qualcomm has also been charging a royalty fee of $7.50 per iPhone for its chips but Apple thinks that the amount is actually high. The FTC is accusing Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in the wireless chip industry. The company is accused of forcing customers like Apple to directly work with it and has forced high fees for its technology. There are people within the FTC who feel that this is not fair. A trial to determine the next course of action started on January 4th this year in a US District Court in San Jose, California.
It’s important to note though that Apple actually makes its own application processors. However, the company relies heavily on third-party companies like Qualcomm for network connectivity chips. So far, one of the biggest suppliers for these chips has been Qualcomm. But Apple has also used Intel Chips at some point, especially on some of its latest iPhone models. The latest iPhone models including the iPhone XS, XS Max, and the XR have all been using 4G Intel chips for connectivity. But Apple wants to go beyond and offer 5G connectivity. The company feels that Qualcomm has the right chips for this but it hasn’t been able to get a deal on the table due to the ongoing conflict between the two companies.
Recent reports also indicate that it’s very unlikely that these issues will be resolved before Apple launches its next batch of iPhones. This means that the company will be a year late in its plans to deliver 5G connectivity to its customers. Intel is in the process of developing 5G capable chips but they won’t be ready until 2020. Unless Apple is able to resolve the issue with Qualcomm, it’s increasingly becoming possible that the earliest the company can have a 5G iPhone in the market is 2020.
Qualcomm has said however that it’s working hard to win new contracts from Apple to supply the chips. The company said that it’s more than willing to supply the chips to Apple but it claims that so far Apple hasn’t brought forward a substantial fair contract on the table to allow for this cooperation. The company added that if a good opportunity presents itself to continue supplying Apple with the technology, then it will take it.