March 1, according to VentureBeat reported that the 2018 Mobile World Congress on the major announcements of 5G have been settled, there are two very clear: First, the 5G network faster than recently expected; the second , Based on the current relationship with 5G modem suppliers, before the introduction of 5G iPhone, Apple is facing difficult challenges.
In 2007, when the first iPhone was released without 3G network support, or in 2012, when the iPhone 5 was launched just two years after the 4G network appeared, the second or even tenth of the market for Apple came to market Not important. But things have changed a great deal since then. Apple is currently the world's No. 1 or No. 2 smartphone maker, depending on Apple's quarterly results, while iPhone's revenue accounts for 1/2 to 2/3 of its revenue.
In addition, Apple's current flagship handset is a leader in technology and sales. So if Apple decides to wait for the 5G technology to mature (undoubtedly 2019's biggest new technology), it could hurt both its share, its market share and its reputation for innovation. I will not tell you what Apple is going to do because it is the business decision of its chief executive, Tim Cook, that Apple may need to work with its partners it does not like. But let me outline four of the four paths that Apple will choose and tell you what direction I think is most likely to be chosen.
The first choice: Qualcomm
Under normal circumstances, Qualcomm will become Apple's most suitable 5G partner. Qualcomm's modems have been used in the iPhone for years, sometimes even exclusively, until Apple introduced Intel modems recently. The San Francisco-based chip maker has been working on the development of 5G technology for many years, pushing 5G standardization ahead of schedule and signing dozens of 5G customers.
Figure: Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon announced that 19G manufacturers and 18 operators will use Snapdragon X50 modems on its 5G devices to customers in 2019
However, Apple and Qualcomm are on the issue of 4G royalty costs. In the past year, 4G patent fees have evolved from "mainly a matter of funding" to "an international antitrust war." At present, the legal dispute has escalated. Apple claims to completely abandon the use of Qualcomm chips in the new iPhone launched in 2018 and has been striving to remove some Qualcomm products from its products. Given the different networking needs of the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, this is not an easy task.
So why is Qualcomm the first to be on the list for Apple's 5G iPhone? One solution to such disputes is that both parties rely on each other and Qualcomm recently struck a similar patent with another major customer, Samsung Licensing issues. As discussed below, Apple may not have a better choice when it comes to launching the first 5G handsets, and reconciliation with Qualcomm will make future device development easier.
The second choice: Samsung
The traditional view is that Apple does not really like Samsung because the lawsuits over the years have shown that Apple sees the Korean company as a "plagiarized artist" and often plagiarizes Apple's innovations. However, Samsung's components are used inside many Apple devices, sometimes screens, sometimes chips, and sometimes even ideas. Apple's latest flagship phone iPhone X uses a super retina screen that relies entirely on Samsung supplies because of rival LG Corp.'s inability to meet Apple's quality requirements.
Samsung has publicly announced plans for a 5G device with a prototype tablet released earlier this month, and the Galaxy S10 will almost certainly support 5G technology. Not surprisingly, Samsung has also made 5G modems and now has CDMA support as well as hardware that can be used to provide 5G wireless services for the entire home, including the optimized performance of Samsung handsets.
This is bad news for Apple because Apple recently dropped out of the wireless router business and although Samsung no longer has the peculiar optimization of Apple, Apple is also losing the chance to build friendly relationships with major South Korean suppliers. With all these things in mind, I think Samsung may be the "dark horse" for Apple's 5G iPhone. It's hard to imagine Apple giving up its pride and relying on another Samsung solution to solve the iPhone's key problems. But considering the current legal dispute with Qualcomm, it may not have other realistic options.
The third choice: Intel
Intel is listed as Apple's third path, and in two cases it can easily become Apple's 5G companion: If Intel's 5G modem is better known than the public or if Apple is willing to wait for the first generation of 5G devices first Listing. Both of these situations are possible.
In the 4G era, Intel's modem has lagged far behind Qualcomm, so that Apple had to disable Qualcomm chips on some iPhones in order to use Intel's modems with other iPhones. Without the detailed specifications of the upcoming XMM8000 Series 5G modem from Intel, many people think this may be a mistake and Intel will once again try to keep up with Qualcomm.
Figure: February 27, 2018, Visitors Visit Intel Mobile World Congress booth, the first to see is the concept of support for the concept of 5G PC
The biggest question now is whether Intel will have any 5G modem that supports smartphones by 2019. This week, Intel said it will have a 5G modem for laptops by the end of 2019, which will be a long wait. Unlike rivals that already make early 5G chips, Intel may miss the 2019 mobile phone market opportunity. Of course, Apple and Intel know more than the details they talk openly on this topic, but Intel does not have any 5G handset announcements at a big show like the MWC, suggesting that Apple needs to pick another path.
The fourth choice: Apple
The last road is also a way I do not quite believe, that is Apple's next year to launch its own 5G modem. As we all know, Apple is actively committed to the development of wireless chips, Apple W series chips have appeared in Apple Watch, AirPods and Beats headphones.
However, a complete modem will be a big step forward for Apple, and 5G modems are now almost unthinkable. Just as Apple is likely to enjoy having this particular component in its device, the 5G is so complex from an engineering and test standpoint that I do not believe Apple will use its own modem on the first 5G iPhone . 2020 or 2021? Maybe.
One of the problems is antenna design. Qualcomm pointed out to reporters at MWC that 5G equipment makers will need to find ways to keep multiple antennas accessible to avoid drastic data loss. To solve this problem, especially on 5G millimeter-wave modems, Intel's notebook solution at MWC is a huge pair of stand-offs for use as an antenna. Apple will never accept such a solution, but it requires the help of engineers and test its own smarter design.
Which way will Apple go?
It's easy to conclude that Apple may first rely on Qualcomm, Samsung or Intel to launch its first 5G iPhone, as long as it has confidence in network compatibility and performance, it will switch to using its own modem. But this conclusion poses two key questions: Which company will become its first 5G modem supplier? When will this cooperation begin?
If I can only choose one of the companies as Apple's most likely partner, I may choose between Intel and Qualcomm, which is based entirely on publicly available information. Although Intel is hyped about its 5G technology at sports events, it has not yet announced the fact that the smartphone transaction shows it may lag behind its competitors in certain key areas. For Apple, this means either waiting for Intel to introduce new technology, or choose Qualcomm or Samsung. Apple and Qualcomm disputes are funding problems, although there are still funds and plagiarism with Samsung, but the two sides did not stop the cooperation. Solving the lawsuit with Qualcomm will allow Apple to immediately get 5G chips to launch 5G iPhone.
Of course, it is also possible Apple sit back and see the first generation of 5G equipment market, then shot again, which has precedent in 3G and 4G. I think the current risk of Apple's involvement in the 5G is too high, but we expect to see the 5G iPhone in 2020 if the company is willing to launch new phones at a risk of reputational and stock price damage. If so, Samsung will be the loser in the high-end 5G smartphone market.
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