Apple iPhone to be exclusively Intel based from 2018

Apple iPhone to be exclusively Intel based from 2018

Apple iPhone to be exclusively Intel based from 2018

Intel began supplying modem chips to Apple from the iPhone 7 onwards. At the time, the fine-issuing European Union court ruled "Qualcomm prevented rivals from competing in the market" by making significant payments to Apple with the condition that the phone maker use Qualcomm as their sole LTE chip supplier.

"There is speculation that Apple might drop Qualcomm altogether for its next generation phones and I think that's part of the reason the stock is down today", said Angelo Zino, an analyst from CFRA Research.

Apple cutting supply from the San Diego company and switching to Intel effectively means there could be one iPhone model that works with all four major USA carriers - AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Intel modems previously lacked CDMA, meaning Apple could never fully ditch Qualcomm for all iPhone models.

Apple is able to make the switch because of the capabilities of Intel's latest XMM 7560 modem, which now supports both GSM and CDMA.

Earlier, Kuo had reported that Apple was going to improve LTE transmission speeds on iPhones by supporting 4×4 MIMO chipsets.

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Meanwhile, Qualcomm is already facing a fine of $773 million by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission for having engaged in antitrust and monopolistic practices. Apple has so far divided things up between Intel and Qualcomm, but this year the latter might be out of the picture completely.

Between 2011 and 2016, in fact, Qualcomm was the exclusive modem provider for the iPhone. After losing the iPhone business, Qualcomm will be more aggressive in securing orders from Chinese smartphone vendors.

For the 2018 devices, Apple is set to rely on Intel as the exclusive supplier, saying that it offers more competitive prices. However, as previous benchmarks have shown, iPhones with Qualcomm LTE chips have performed slightly better than their Intel-running counterparts.

KGI Securities did not rule out a return by Qualcomm to the supply chain, perhaps in the form of concessions in the patent lawsuit settlement.

There is also a risk that Intel might not be ready for 5G networking as quickly as Qualcomm, which might also force Apple's hand.

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