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Apple has extended its deal with Qualcomm until 2026. Nonetheless, according to the projection of the biggest smartphone chip maker, it expects to supply only 20% of 2026 iPhone modems. This might be an indication of the new estimated year for the availability of Apple’s own 5G modem, which is still facing challenges. (via Bloomberg)

The original agreement was supposed to end this year, which resulted in rumors that the iPhone 15 would be the last Apple smartphone to use chips from Qualcomm. The Cupertino giant started the project in 2018 and even bought Intel’s smartphone chip business in 2019 to better arm itself. However, years after trying to have its “key strategy transition,” the iPhone maker is still unable to produce its own modem that will exceed, if not match, the efficiency of Qualcomm’s chip creations.

With this, Apple and Qualcomm are expected to continue working with each other for three more years despite not being on good terms due to past issues. This renewed agreement, nonetheless, is good news for Qualcomm, which gets a quarter of its revenue from Apple. As an initial result of the news, Qualcomm even saw an 8% premarket trading increase in its shares in New York this Monday.

Meanwhile, the deal marks Apple’s new deadline for its 5G modem plans. This gives the company more time to establish its autonomy from Qualcomm. The chip maker also seems to affirm 2026 as the start of the realization of Apple’s 5G modem, saying this will be the year it would only cover a portion of chips that will be needed for the 2026 iPhones. If this statement is true, we might experience the Apple-designed 5G modem in the iPhone 18 release.

There is also a possibility of the chip being used for the rumored next-gen iPhone SE. As previous reports said, the model is significantly linked to Apple’s works in its 5G modem. Supply analyst Ming-Chi Kuo called it a “derivative model that will likely be an engineering prototype for Apple in-house 5G baseband chip technology and mass production validation.” Nonetheless, a more recent report claimed that Chinese companies have already started courting Apple to be its iPhone SE 4 OLED panel manufacturer, indicating Apple is determined to push the model with the said chip. If true, the new iPhone SE might be the first to receive the Apple 5G modem, with a rumor claiming that the phone will arrive in 2025.

But will the phone really arrive in 2025? Most of all, will the year really be the debut of Apple’s 5G modem? While analysts and rumors have been repeatedly mentioned this year, Apple’s current status with this modem project negates the idea. With all this, one can only hope that the three-year extension will be enough for Apple to finally fulfill its plan that has been under development for years.


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