Qualcomm inks pact with Apple to supply it with a key iPhone component through 2026

Qualcomm inks pact with Apple to supply it with a key iPhone component through 2026
Apple and Qualcomm signed an agreement today that will result in the chipmaker supplying Apple with 5G modems through 2026. It might not be as dramatic as the last time Apple and Qualcomm signed a pact over 5G modems in 2019. You might remember the situation. Apple and Qualcomm were fighting over patents and Qualcomm's "no license, no chips" royalty system, and were hardly the best of friends. 

Apple had asked Intel to develop a 5G modem chip for smartphones but it wasn't expecting much and the iPhone manufacturer was getting desperate. In the middle of open statements for a patent trial between the two tech behemoths, a settlement was reached giving Apple access to Snapdragon 5G modems.

A few months later, Apple went on to buy Intel's 5G smartphone modem business for a cool $1 billion and it was apparent that Apple, like it does with its A-series application processors, would be developing its own 5G modem chips. There was talk that Apple would debut its homegrown 5G modem chip in this year's iPhone 15 Pro models, but some issues, including a pair of Qualcomm patents, reportedly got in the way.

And now it appears that we might not see Apple's in-house developed 5G modem until the iPhone 19 line is unveiled and released in 2027. Qualcomm's press release says that it has inked a deal with Apple to supply Apple with its Snapdragon 5G Modem‑RF Systems for smartphone launches in 2024, 2025, and 2026. Qualcomm added, "This agreement reinforces Qualcomm’s track record of sustained leadership across 5G technologies and products."

Now it is possible that the deal with Qualcomm will supply Apple with 5G modem chips for the non-Pro iPhone models in 2024, 2025, and 2026 and that the Pro models in those years will carry Apple's own 5G modem chip. Another possibility, based on recent rumors calling for Apple to start deploying its own 5G modem chips with the iPhone 17 line in 2025, might indicate that Apple wanted a backup supplier of the component just in case. The current deal between Apple and Qualcomm expires later this year.

Investors, seeing that Qualcomm has been given a reprieve until 2027, have been buying the company's shares which are up $4.36 or 4.11% today to $110.50.

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