KEY POINTS

  • Apple's 5G modem of choice is the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55
  • Qualcomm’s newer 5G modem is built with a 5 nm process
  • The Snapdragon X60’s smaller profile makes it more power-efficient than its predecessor

Although it has only been a few months since the launch of the iPhone 12 series, speculation about Apple’s next flagship phone is already on the rise. Tech industry insiders have been sharing some of the purported key features that may ship with the device when it comes out later this year. The next upgrade, which could be making its way to the iPhone 13, should help with its 5G connectivity.

A teardown of all the latest iOS handset models shows their 5G modem of choice is the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55. Unlike other 5G-ready smartphones that are only limited to the sub-6 GHz spectrum, the entire iPhone 12 lineup is compatible with the faster mmWave.

Tom’s Guide suggests the iPhone 13 might go for the Snapdragon X60 5G modem to take advantage of its carrier aggregation functionality. Moreover, unlike the Snapdragon X55, which uses a 7 nm process, Qualcomm’s newer version is built with a 5 nm process.

Its simultaneous communication on both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrums would technically give the iPhone 13 lower latency and higher download/upload speeds. Ultimately, this performance boost would still depend on the cellular network’s service quality.

Given the pace at which the telecommunications industry innovates its technology, Qualcomm already considers the Snapdragon X65 as its range-topping 5G modem. Unveiled earlier this month, internal testing shows it can theoretically reach mobile data speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

It is worth noting the real-world performance of the current 5G networks is not capable of those metrics just yet. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon X60’s smaller profile makes it more power-efficient than its predecessor – a feature users would likely want to have on future iPhones.

In battery tests, the iPhone 12 overall usage time dropped by 20% compared to the iPhone 11, As reported by T3. Apple’s biggest rival, Samsung, is already using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset with its integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem for the Galaxy S21 range in certain markets.

The launch of the iPhone 13 may still be a long way off, but supply chain insiders are likely to leak more information in the coming months. In a related article, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published an Apple patent for an auxiliary screen system for future tablets and smartphones.

Apple logo Apple is reportedly close to a deal to produce its own branded cars in the United States in a partnership with South Korean auto giant Hyundai Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA