Qualcomm renews iPhone chip pact with Apple through 2026

Qualcomm Technologies announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Apple to supply Snapdragon 5G chipsets for smartphone launches in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

Terms were not disclosed, but Qualcomm said they are similar to the last contract. Qualcomm did not change its guidance. 

“This agreement reinforces Qualcomm’s track record of sustained leadership across 5G technologies and products,” Qualcomm stated.

The news comes one day before Apple is due to launch the next iPhone. Qualcomm previously said it expected to have the vast majority of share of 5G modems for the 2023 iPhone launch.

It also comes after years of speculation that Apple is preparing to make its own iPhone chips. Apple and Qualcomm were embroiled in a lawsuit over royalties but settled that in 2019. Apple then bought Intel’s smartphone modem business, but reports again suggest that building its own modem component is more challenging than expected.

The smartphone industry has been in a tough spot. Worldwide smartphone shipments declined 7.8% year over year to 265.3 million units in the second quarter of 2023, according to IDC. Apple reported a year-over-year decline of about 2% in iPhone sales in its last quarterly report.

Next iPhone expectations

When it’s unveiled in Cupertino, California, tomorrow, the iPhone 15 is expected to feature faster processors, new camera sensors, a more standardized USB-C and titanium instead of stainless steel cases, according to multiple reports.

Last year, Apple announced the iPhone 14 with emergency satellite connectivity powered by Globalstar. If there’s anything new on that front, it’s most likely about expanding the list of countries supported by the current emergency text services, said Opensignal analyst Ian Fogg.

Beyond that, there are a number of areas where Apple could extend the iPhone connectivity experience, he said. Wi-Fi 6E using the 6 GHz band is yet to arrive on the iPhone but should be imminent given Apple added it to the 2023 Mac Book Pro models, he noted.

The AR experience   

The most intriguing area is what Apple will do with AR on the iPhone 15 range, he said.

“The iPhone has supported AR experiences for years – since the first version of ARKit in 2017. Now that Apple has unveiled the Vision Pro headset, we will likely see moves to add features to other Apple devices to enable them to work seamlessly with Vision Pro and build on Apple’s ecosystem strategy,” he said.

Apple’s event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday and will be streamed on the Apple website and via the Apple TV app.