On Friday, an Apple executive in one of the statements mentioned that the company is having talks with Samsung Electronics and MediaTek to supply 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones. Besides this, Apple will continue to take the 5G modem chips from the existing vendor Intel, said the executive at a trial between Qualcomm and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
There have been reports that Apple between 2011 and 2016 took the modem chips from San Diego-based Qualcomm. At the said time, Qualcomm was the sole supplier of the chips that were used in iPhones to connect to wireless networks. Coming to 2016, Apple started taking the modem chips from both Intel and Qualcomm but moving to 2018, Intel became the sole supplier of the chips for the iPhones.
Talking about the current year, Tony Blevins, Apple supply chain executive, has affirmed that the company will now consider MediaTek and Samsung along with Intel to manufacture and supply 5G modem chips to Apple. Tony also shared that the technology will soon roll out in the market and will have comparatively faster data speeds than the current 4G technology
Apple in the year 2013 discontinued taking chips from Intel for the iPad Mini 2 as the firm was losing its rebate by using Intel chips in its products, and Apple kicked off “Project Antique” in the later part of the year to secure a second modem supplier.
Reaching 2016 and 2017, Apple started taking the modem chips from both Qualcomm and Intel, but the lawsuit that Apple filed against Qualcomm came up as a turning point in their business relationships. Following an adverse change in the business relationship between Apple and Qualcomm, Intel became the sole supplier of modern chips for Apple in 2018.
“The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to (Intel) but we don’t want to be a single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix,” Blevins said. Blevins besides this also shared that Apple is considering making Intel the sole supplier of modems for the Apple Watch.
There have been no words from the supply chain executive that whether Apple has finalized its 5G modem supplier and when Apple would release its first 5G iPhone in 2019.