Apple will likely still need to use Qualcomm modems for 2018 iPhones
Looks like Qualcomm may still get a piece of the 2018 iPhone
Apple may still have to use Qualcomm’s modem chips for some of its 2018 iPhones, according to a new report from Bernstein Research via Nikkei Asian Review. Following increasingly heated legal disputes, it was reported earlier this year that Apple would eschew Qualcomm modems altogether in favour of Intel. However, “unresolved quality issues” will force the company to dual-source modems like it has in the past, writes Nikkei, citing Bernstein Research.
This report backs up a similar scoop from Fast Company in April. Additionally, Nikkei reports that Intel has started production of the modem chip that will grace Apple’s 2018 iPhones, the XMM 7560. The modem is Intel’s first chip to be manufactured in-house (rather than outsourced to TSMC), and its first chip to support both CDMA and GSM standards. The latter fact is important because it potentially allows Intel to take on all of Apple’s business.
Previously, Intel chips did not support CDMA, and those modems were instead supplied by Qualcomm. CDMA support is necessary for major U.S. carriers Verizon and Sprint. If this report is to be believed, however, Intel didn’t quite make it to the finish line, requiring Qualcomm to step in once again. Dual-sourcing has previously led to controversy over Apple’s throttling of Qualcomm modems to deliver a consistent experience on par with Intel modem-stocked iPhones. A similar situation could occur with this year’s models. Intel’s XMM 7560 promises 1Gbps peak speeds, but Qualcomm’s already announced the Snapdragon X24, with peak speeds of up to 2Gbps. It’s unclear just which Qualcomm modem Apple might use, however.