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Apple and Qualcomm Announce a Settlement over Patent Royalties

Written by Scott Colon

Apple and Qualcomm just settle their massive legal battle, both the companies settle over a sudden agreement to end all litigation between them worldwide, one of the biggest tech courtroom battles in history.

The end of all litigations between the two companies has now turned the attention towards the 5G iPhone. Over the tech giants’ dispute, what does this mean for the 5G iPhone? Is it back on track for 2020 release? Prior to Tuesday’s unexpected settlement, many analysts were expecting that Apple won’t be able to deliver a 5G iPhone by 2020.

Earlier this month, UBS analyst Timothi Arcuri told investors that “there were high chances that Apple may not be able to ship a 5G iPhone for 2020.” He mentioned Apple’s failure to secure necessary 5G modems as the main reason why the tech giant might not be able to ship a 5G iPhone at the scheduled time.

Apple’s problem with sourcing 5G modems has been two-fold: it couldn’t get 5G modems from Qualcomm because of the two companies’ disputes. Both the companies were locked in litigations, and Intel, the sole supplier of 4G LTE modems in the iPhone XS and XR, appears to be behind schedule with its own 5G modems. Therefore, without any supplier, a 5G iPhone in 2020 would have been impossible. However, the settlement could turn things back forth.

“I think it should mean Apple is back on track for a 2020 launch as long as Qualcomm is the tech giant’s supplier, says Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analysts at Creative Strategies.

Even if Qualcomm can’t provide enough 5G modems to Apple in time for 2020 launch the tech analyst thinks they could “prioritize some markets such as the U.S. and China for instance. Other analysts aren’t quite as optimistic. Though the analysts believe that a 5G iPhone won’t launch until 2021, a 5G iPhone into 2020 would be tight.

Though Apple and Qualcomm didn’t disclose any specific details to their chip agreement. The two companies “have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement” — it’s very likely Apple will now have access to Qualcomm’s 5G modems, such as the Snapdragon X55 5G modem announced in February.

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