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Apple is said to have stopped the iPhone SE 4

Apple has reportedly halted the fourth-generation iPhone SE due to concerns that the planned 5G chip from its own production is not good enough.

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Apple is said to have put the fourth-generation iPhone SE on hold because its self-developed 5G modem is allegedly not competitive. The iPhone SE 4 was supposed to resemble the case design of the iPhone XR and iPhone 11.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported on Medium that Apple originally planned to launch its 5G chip in 2024 and equip the iPhone SE 4 with it. However, he said the performance was not high enough, so concerns were raised about including it.

According to the analyst, the future of Apple's next iPhone SE in the design of the iPhone XR is uncertain. (Image: Apple)
According to the analyst, the future of Apple’s next iPhone SE in the design of the iPhone XR is uncertain. (Image: Apple)

For Qualcomm, this is good news. Apple’s 5G chip supplier thus has the best chance of being able to continue to supply Apple exclusively without Apple’s development gradually leading to displacement, Kuo writes.

Apple had acquired Intel’s modem business, in part due to patent disputes with Qualcomm. Retroactive to April 2019, Apple entered into a six-year agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively purchase its Snapdragon 5G basebands.

Lawsuits against and exclusive contracts with Qualcomm

In 2017, Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, the previous exclusive supplier of the LTE modem for the iPhones. The background to this discount on license payments that Qualcomm is alleged to have deliberately withheld. In this context, there was also a complaint from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FTC) because Qualcomm allegedly forced an exclusive agreement with Apple from 2011 to 2016.

Since the iPhone 4S up to and including the iPhone 6S, only Qualcomm modems were used, but the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X also use Intel basebands. Apple had to throttle the Qualcomm variants because they are faster than Intel’s, which also resulted in a lawsuit.