Apple may have lost its 5G conflict to Qualcomm but now it is in a position to win it. Apple is on the path to making a 5G iPhone with its own modem. On 25th July, Apple announced that it will buy Intel’s smartphone modem business. Following the tradition, it’s another way in which Apple will proclaim end-to-end control over its devices.
The Apple-Intel deal includes approximately 2,200 Intel employees joining Apple along with all-important intellectual property, equipment, and leases for $1 billion, according to the official announcement. In the end, Apple will hold a combined 17,000 wireless technology patents.
Apple has always been interested in making its own modem for the iPhone and buying all the IntelIp means having one ready until its deal with Qualcomm ends. So don’t expect an Apple made 5G modem inside the IPhone11 or even the iPhone 2020. But it surely shows the great task ahead for Apple. This announcement has confirmed that Apple will make a 5G iPhone in the interim. In the meantime, Apple does have a six-year agreement with 5G modem supplier and chipmaker Qualcomm.
Launching iPhone 5G
The previous generation of iPhones used a Qualcomm modem. But from now on, Apple will be able to stop its use and accelerate the development of its own 5G smartphone modem, which is something Intel had trouble to do on its own.
Some iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models have Qualcomm modem chips. While, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR all have 4G LTE with Intel modems and that’s not expected to change with the upcoming iPhone 11 series.
Apple and Qualcomm agreed to stop suing each other back in April. In the settlement, Apple agreed to use Qualcomm modems for the next six years, with an option to extend the relationship another two. This gives Apple eight years to refine the smartphone modems Intel was struggling with and enhance them up to the level of Qualcomm’s technology. It is no secret that Intel modems didn’t perform as well as Qualcomm’s’ but now Apple has ample of time to finetune the technology. Apple has had a habit of bringing tech in-house when it can – we expect Apple-designed ARM-based MacBook chips in 2021, too.
More on, Apple has a talented executive, SVP of hardware technologies Johny Srouji, onboard to make it happen. Srouji is the superman who turned Apple into a company that makes some of the best-performing mobile processors in the world. Now he’ll get a chance to do the same with an equally important iPhone component.
However, this is not going to happen somewhere soon. This is a long term plan of becoming autonomous and handling its own future in 5G.