The next generation of mobile networks will begin rolling out this year and a lot of smartphone manufacturers will rely on Qualcomm for its Snapdragon X50 5G solution. However, as Apple and Qualcomm are in the midst of a bitter legal battle right now, the Cupertino giant is looking at two other modem suppliers to source for its 5G-enabled iPhones that will reportedly launch in 2020. The company hasn’t said which of the two companies would make the cut and how the orders would be split between the chosen manufacturer and the existing supplier Intel.
Apple Is Noticeably Queasy About Getting Its Modems From Samsung, According to Qualcomm
These details emerged when Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified in front of the court as part of the trial between the FTC and Qualcomm. The antitrust case began two years ago when FTC accused the chip maker of lowering its patent royalties to lure Apple into signing an exclusivity deal for modems with it. To recap, Apple sourced its chips from Qualcomm from 2011 to 2016, and later on, it split some orders with Intel, before dropping Qualcomm completely.
Blevins said that Apple is considering MediaTek and Samsung as potential supply chain partners for its 5G devices. He further said that it is standard practice for the iPhone maker to look at up to six suppliers for every component. He did agree that the company signed an agreement with Qualcomm in return for heavy rebates and parted ways with Intel in 2013 to honor the deal.
Blevins also acknowledged that dealing with its arch-rival Samsung isn’t exactly an ideal situation. Samsung already supplies OLED displays to Apple for its iPhones. It will be a long wait before we find out which supplier Apple would go for, as the technology giant would reportedly stick with 4G modems this year and its 5G-ready iPhones are expected to launch on 2020.
The company is also reportedly working on its own 5G-enabled cellular modems but they might not be ready in time for the 2020 iPhones and iPads.
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