According to an unnamed source speaking with Fast Company, Apple is currently working on its own 5G modem for the next iPhone. The report says the Qualcomm 5G modem presented to Apple is too thick for the iPhone maker’s liking:
Apple balked at the QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna module offered to it by Qualcomm because it doesn’t fit into the sleek industrial design Apple wants for the new phone, a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans told Fast Company.
However, Apple typically designs on several tracks, and it’s concurrently working on another design that uses both the Qualcomm modem and antenna. It could default to this option later this year, our source said. But that would require Apple to settle for a slightly thicker iPhone than it wants. Qualcomm has said that its QTM 525 antenna module will “support 5G smartphone designs sleeker than 8 millimeters thick.”
Apple reportedly is working on a 5G modem design that utilizes the Qualcomm 5G modem and antenna. It’s unclear which path Apple may take.
Also at stake is the relationship between both Apple and Qualcomm. Fast Company’s source claims Apple feels like it is still “getting screwed on royalties” by Qualcomm, which ‘double dips’ on payments from the iPhone maker for both parts (modems) and royalties for using the chipmaker’s intellectual property.
Last April, Apple and Qualcomm settled their ongoing legal disputes, where Apple alleged Qualcomm was leveraging its monopoly in the marketplace to overcharge for licensing fees. Both companies agreed to a six-year license agreement and multiyear chipset supply agreement.