Qualcomm unveils smaller 5G modem aimed at the 2021 iPhone

Qualcomm Snapdragon
Qualcomm Snapdragon (Image credit: Qualcomm)

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm has unveiled its next 5G modem.
  • The Snapdragon X60 is the first 5-nanometer 5G modem.
  • The company expects that it will be featured in phones starting next year.

While Apple may be trying to break free of Qualcomm and built its own proprietary 5G antenna for the first iPhone to feature the technology, it seems to be happy with the modem that the company has designed. As of now, the 5G iPhone is set to feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 modem when it launches this fall.

That win has apparently not stopped Qualcomm from taking its 5G modem to the next level. Reported by MacRumors, the company has announced the third generation of its modem, the Snapdragon X60. The new model is built on a 5-nanometer process, the first in the world for a 5G baseband.

According to the company, this packs the modem into a smaller footprint than the X55 while also improving power efficiency. It also enables smartphones that are sporting the Snapdragon X60 to "utilize a mix of frequency bands ... and deployment modes ... to achieve an optimal combination of high-speed and low-latency network coverage."

For the 2021 iPhone, this new modem could increase battery life, free up room for additional components inside of the housing, and improve 5G performance across multiple carrier models, all with one chip.

While this modem could potentially be seen in the 2021 iPhone, Apple is reportedly working on their own internal modems to eventually be used in the iPhone. The company has historically made many components in its products proprietary, so this move seems like more of an eventuality than a possibility. In the meantime, Qualcomm seems happy to sell its modems to Apple.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.