Report from Korea says to expect just one 5G compatible iPhone model for 2020
Earlier today, we passed along the latest word about the 2020 Apple iPhones from TF International's reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Just to reiterate, Kuo sees two iPhone 12 Pro variants next year, both sporting OLED panels made by Samsung. The analyst says that the iPhone 12 Pro will be equipped with a 5.4-inch display while a huge 6.7-inch screen will be featured on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12, according to Kuo, will also carry an AMOLED display, but one made by LG that will measure 6.1-inches.
Kuo also has said that all three 2020 iPhones will support 5G. But that happens to contradict a new report from Korea's ETNews that suggests that Apple could release more than four new iPhone models next year with only one model able to connect to 5G networks. ETNews agrees with Kuo about other aspects of his report, especially the information about the size and source of each panel that Apple will use on next year's handsets.
Apple will equip its 5G iPhones with the Snapdragon X55 modem chip
The report does note that Apple has been impressed with Samsung's on-cell OLED technology (called 'Y-OCTA') which allows for a thinner display. Since Samsung is the only company that can mass-produce this display, Apple gave its rival the order. An industry representative quoted by the Korean publication said, "Although Apple had been sticking with film touch method since its first iPhone, Samsung Display has succeeded in drawing a change from Apple by actively promoting Y-OCTA technology to Apple.” said a representative for the industry. “It is heard that Samsung Display also suggested shocking terms in order to obtain an order from Apple."
Regardless of whether Kuo or ETNews is right, all 5G compatible Apple handsets will be equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 5G modem. The latter will work with both ultra-high mmWave spectrum and sub-6GHz airwaves. As recently as this past April, Apple wasn't sure who it would turn to for 5G modem chips; every time Apple and Qualcomm looked at each other cross-eyed, a lawsuit was filed. Saying that there was bad blood between them was an understatement. Qualcomm felt that Apple had gone behind its back to source Intel modem chips for some iPhone 7 models, especially after Qualcomm agreed to pay Apple a huge sum of money each year as an "incentive fee." And the chipmaker also noted that Apple had thrown its chip selling policies under the bus in testimony to the Korean FTC. Apple was unhappy with how much it was paying Qualcomm and the quality of the chips it was buying.
But just as the two giants were wrapping up a trial with billions of dollars at stake, both sides settled. Apple paid Qualcomm a reported $4.5 billion and received a six-year license (with an option for an additional two more years) and a multi-year chip supply agreement. In addition, all legal action between the two companies was dropped. So Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf was right when he said a year ago that his company and Apple would end up resolving all of their differences.
Before settling with Qualcomm, Apple had been planning on using 5G modem chips that Intel was developing, although Apple never appeared to be too excited about them. Thus, it was desperate to reach a settlement with Qualcomm. And with rumors swirling around about Apple designing its own 5G modem chips for future iPhone models, in July Apple bought Intel's smartphone modem chip business for about $1 billion.
We will have to check back next September to see whether Ming-Chi Kuo (all three 2020 iPhones will support 5G) or Korea's ETNews (Apple will release more than four phones next year with one 5G model) was right.