An ongoing patent dispute with long-time chip supplier Qualcomm led Apple to turn to Intel to power a future 5G iPhone, Fast Company reported.
Apple engineers have reportedly conducted initial 5G work with Intel and believe the company’s recently announced 5G modems will suit the iPhone’s needs.
Intel unveiled its new XMM8000 family of 5G modems this week with the debut of the XMM8060. The new multi-mode modem is designed for use in a variety of form factors – including smartphones – and will feature backward compatibility with legacy 2G, 3G and 4G technologies. Intel said it expects the XMM8060 to ship in commercial devices starting in the middle of 2019.
Qualcomm’s own 5G modem – the X50 – made its debut in 2016 and is also expected to make its way into devices in 2019.
Fast Company is the second news outlet to suggest Apple is moving ahead with the design of its future iPhones without Qualcomm. At the end of October, The Wall Street Journal indicated Apple was thinking about dropping Qualcomm from its devices entirely and turning instead to Intel and Mediatek for its chip supply.
The potential shift to Intel as iPhone chip supplier would mark another substantial blow to Qualcomm, which supplied modems for the Apple device since 2011. Qualcomm already lost a portion of its modem share to Intel in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, and the Apple fight is taking its toll in the form of loss of licensing revenue.
Earlier this month, Qualcomm filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging the iPhone giant shared software secrets with Intel, potentially aiding its major rival.