Apple, Qualcomm will bring you a 5G iPhone -- just not this year

CNET | 4/17/2019 | Shara Tibken
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A 5G iPhone could launch in 2020.

Apple and Qualcomm have resolved their legal battle, likely so iPhones get 5G chips sooner. But that doesn't mean we'll see a 5G iPhone this year.

Tuesday - Sides - Surprise - Patent - Licensing

On Tuesday, the two sides announced a surprise ending to their patent licensing battle, resolving a two-year dispute over Qualcomm's licensing fees. Apple had accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive practices that pushed chip prices higher, restricted competition and weighed on customer choice. Qualcomm had countered by saying the iPhone wouldn't be possible without its technology, so it should get paid for its innovation.

The agreement settles all litigation between the companies worldwide. Apple also signed a multiyear chipset supply agreement with Qualcomm, gaining access once again to the company's high-end modems. That includes Qualcomm's 5G chips.

Years - Work - Networks - Foundation - Reality

After years of work on 5G networks, hyped as the life-changing foundation for augmented reality, telemedicine and other tech trends, the super-fast wireless technology is being rolled out. Carriers are turning on their networks, and virtually every major Android handset maker has touted plans to launch a 5G device this year. Apple hasn't.

The company had been working with Intel on 5G chips, but the chipmaker had problems developing the product. A few hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced their settlement Tuesday, Intel said it's exiting the 5G smartphone modem business. Intel's struggle with 5G is likely what brought Apple to the bargaining table with Qualcomm.

Apple - Request - Comment - Qualcomm - CEO

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, during an interview with CNBC, declined to say when a 5G modem could show up in the iPhone.

"We won't talk about Apple's product plans," he said. "There's obviously the beginning ramp of 5G broadly."

Apple - Qualcomm - IPhones - Apple

Even though Apple and Qualcomm are working together again, iPhones won't immediately roll out with 5G. At the earliest, Apple may be able to introduce...
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