iPhone 15 could miss out on Apple’s own 5G modem

iPhone 15 Ultra render with rounded edges
(Image credit: @jonjuhan/Twitter)

The iPhone 15 may be the next in a long line of iPhones to not come with a key Apple-stamped component: the 5G modem.

DigiTimes (opens in new tab)' industry sources claim that Apple's placed a significant order for 5G modems designed by Qualcomm and produced by TSMC for the iPhone 15 series, as well as radio-frequency (RF) chips. The specific 5G modem is thought to be the Snapdragon X70, announced earlier this year, but the main point is that this isn't Apple's own modem design.

Apple's been rumored to be working on a proprietary 5G modem for several years, in line with how it designs its own A-series and M-series systems-on-chip (SoCs) for its iOS and Mac devices. For the time being though, it's had to use Qualcomm modems, like the Snapdragon X65 in the iPhone 14 series, to provide efficient 5G connectivity.

Previous rumors had claimed 2023's iPhone 15 would be the first iPhone to get an Apple 5G modem. But this is now the second source to claim the 5G modem in the iPhone 15 won't be Apple-made.

Ideally, Apple having complete control over its own 5G modem would mean tighter integration with the other components, hopefully resulting in faster speeds and greater power efficiency than the more generic Snapdragon models. That said, the Qualcomm X70 modem already sounds rather impressive thanks to its claimed AI-powered abilities to speed up your data transfer while requiring little juice from the battery, so hopefully it'll sit in the iPhone 15 just fine.

Other upgrades we can look forward to on the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro and alleged iPhone 15 Ultra will apparently include USB-C charging, a revised design with a curved back and a periscope zoom camera for the Pro/Ultra models. We will have to wait until the fall of 2023 to find out for sure though.

Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • David_778
    If Apples 5G modem doesn't perform better than Qualcomm - then Apple should continue to use Qualcomm. Qualcomm has loads of experience of making cellular modems - Apple not so much.
    Reply