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Qualcomm might not supply modems for upcoming iPhones

Qualcomm will not be supplying iPhone modems from now on. (Source: Investopedia)
Qualcomm will not be supplying iPhone modems from now on. (Source: Investopedia)
In the backdrop of Qualcomm's earnings call for this quarter, the company stated that Apple intends to use only Intel modems in the coming iPhone release and thus, Qualcomm will not be supplying modems for the next iPhone. It remains to be seen if Intel would be the preferred supplier or Apple would be looking at alternatives such as MediaTek.

Qualcomm announced its quarterly earnings call yesterday and posted impressive revenues at US$5.6 billion against the predicted US$5.19 billion. The company's CDMA Technologies Business recorded US$4.09 billion in revenue against the predicted US$4.11 billion FactSet analyst consensus. The most important news to come out of the earnings call was revealed by Qualcomm's Chief Financial Officer, George Davis. He said,

Performance in that segment [CDMA Technologies Business] reflected "strong demand" from Chinese device makers and "lower demand" from Apple. We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitors' modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release. We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices." 

Although Intel's name was not explicitly mentioned, it is the only competitor to Qualcomm in this space. Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon too seems to have underscored the fact that the 'company doesn't expect to be part of Apple's next product launch.' 

We already know that Apple uses both Qualcomm and Intel modems in its iPhones. Recently, there were reports that the company throttled the 'better performing' Qualcomm modems to match that of Intel's. Qualcomm recently published a blog on how its Snapdragon 845-powered Android phones were having significantly better mobile connectivity than iPhones with Intel XMM modems. The company also seems to be prepared for the 5G NR revolution by unveiling its latest mmWave and sub-6 GHz RF antennas and the Snapdragon X50 modem. Intel, on the other hand, said that it will require some more time to ready 5G modems although, the XMM 8060 has already completed field testing. 

Eventually, Apple would look to distance itself from Intel components including Mac CPUs as the company looks to bring all silicon under its ambit. There is also a possibility that Apple would turn to MediaTek for future cellular modems. Would you be satisfied with an Intel modem in your next iPhone? Let us know in the comments below.


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-07-26 (Update: 2018-07-26)