iPhone 13 will kick its 5G support up a notch — here's how

Design mockups of iPhone 13 models
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

The iPhone 13 will reportedly improve its 5G capabilities by upgrading to Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, which is a step up from the iPhone 12's Snapdragon X55 5G modem.

While the Snapdragon X55 is built on a 7-nanometer (nm) process, the Snapdragon X60 modem is fabricated on a 5nm chip, DigiTimes reported (via MacRumors).

The iPhone 13 gets a 5G hardware upgrade

Apple will tap into Samsung's manufacturing prowess to build the 5G chip with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem acting as the blueprint. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X60 chipset introduced a lot of firsts. It's the world's first 5nm 5G baseband and the first to aggregate mmWave and sub-6GHz for ultimate 5G performance.

For the uninitiated, mmWave is a class of 5G frequencies that boasts ultra-fast speeds at short distances, which makes it optimal for dense, urban locations. On the other hand, sub-6GHz 5G is typically slower than mmWave, but on the plus side, its signals travel farther, making it more suitable for rural and suburban areas. That being said, the Snapdragon X60 promises to aggregate data from mmWave and sub-6GHz bands simultaneously for a killer combination of ultra-fast, low-latency 5G coverage.

Qualcomm says that Snapdragon X60 offers blazing-fast 5G apps, superior coverage (more stability and reliability while using 5G indoors and outdoors), and better power efficiency for all-day battery life.

The iPhone 12 line took a bit of a hit when it comes to battery life due to 5G. According to the Laptop Mag battery test, the iPhone 11 Pro Max lasts 11 hours and 44 minutes while the 5G-supported iPhone 12 Pro Max has a runtime of 10 hours and 53 minutes (thankfully, there is a way to turn off iPhone 12's 5G for an additional two hours of battery life). Perhaps the Snapdragon X60's power-efficient chip will give the iPhone 13 a longer battery runtime when 5G is on.

Qualcomm recently announced its Snapdragon X65 modem — the company's fourth-generation 5G solution. According to MacRumors, Apple plans to pack its phones with the X65 chipset in 2022.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!