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Apple Considering Eliminating Qualcomm Chips From Next Year's iPhones and iPads

Amid an escalating legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing its 2018 iPhones and iPads without Qualcomm LTE chips, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple is instead considering using only modem chips from Intel and perhaps MediaTek in its next-generation devices.

Qualcomm is allegedly withholding software that Apple needs to test LTE chips in its iPhone and iPad prototypes, necessitating the move.


The Wall Street Journal's sources say Qualcomm stopped sharing the software following the January lawsuit Apple filed against the company, hindering Apple's development efforts, but Qualcomm claims Apple has already tested the chip that would be suitable for the next-generation iPhone.
Qualcomm said its "modem that could be used in the next generation iPhone has already been fully tested and released to Apple." The chip company said it is "committed to supporting Apple's new devices" as it does for others in the industry.
Apple has used Qualcomm modem chips in its devices for many years, but began diversifying last year with the addition of Intel modem chips in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus also use both Intel and Qualcomm chips. In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile models use chips from Intel, while Verizon and Sprint models use chips from Qualcomm.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's plans to stop using Qualcomm chips in its 2018 devices could still change. Apple could switch suppliers as late as June, three months before the launch of the 2018 iPhone.

Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a legal battle since the beginning of the year after Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Apple stopped paying licensing fees to Qualcomm at that time, as did Apple suppliers. Apple maintains that Qualcomm charges excessive licensing fees by requesting a percentage of an iPhone's entire value, while Qualcomm says its technology is "at the heart of every iPhone."

Qualcomm has since countersued and filed several patent infringement lawsuits against Apple. Qualcomm has also asked the United States International Trade Commission to block imports of some iPhone and iPad models and has requested that China stop manufacturing and selling iPhones.

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Top Rated Comments

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16 weeks ago
and we end up with the ****** intel modems... smh....
Rating: 28 Votes
16 weeks ago
We know that Samsung makes huge amounts of money by selling iPhone parts to Apple. Qualcomm forcing Apple to stop using Qualcomm products is absolutely stupid.
Rating: 18 Votes
16 weeks ago
Makes sense.

Today, Qualcomm is cutting off the testing software.

Tomorrow, they will be cutting off modem firmware updates.

If I were Apple, I sure as heck wouldn't want Qualcomm anymore. Risk of being stuck with something that can't be firmware updated? No thanks!
Rating: 17 Votes
16 weeks ago
I would prefer Apple to use their own in-house designed modem chips. Imagine every single LTE/5G radio technology and band support!
Rating: 17 Votes
16 weeks ago
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple made a decision that bit their customers in the ass for a period of time. Case and point: Apple dropping Google Maps in favor of their inferior navigation product.

If Apple makes this move, they’d better make damn sure that Intel’s modems are up to snuff. I’ve seen a considerable amount of side-by-side testing online where the Qualcomm modem outperforms the Intel modem in terms of throughput and also general ability to maintain a more stable signal when a device is on the fringes of coverage.
Rating: 16 Votes
16 weeks ago
Good! I hope Apple puts these criminals out of business. Steve Jobs invented the iPhone, not Qualcomm!
Rating: 15 Votes
16 weeks ago
And then Qualcomm sues Apple for not using their chips.
Rating: 12 Votes
16 weeks ago

Can Intel make CDMA capable chips yet? Apple can't release an iPhone that doesn't support CDMA, can it?


Intel launched its new XMM 7560 modem earlier this year. It supports Gigabit LTE and CDMA. You can bet Apple has sent baseband engineers to work with Intel and improve it. The chip was too late for this year's iPhones, but plenty of time for the 2018 models.
Rating: 12 Votes
16 weeks ago
I feel like I'm the only one who agrees with Qualcomm. Apple accusing Qualcomm of charging too much is laughable. Apple isn't the one who ultimately pays, the customer does. I'd rather pay an extra $5 than be stuck with an Intel modem. Just put the best technology in the device Apple.
Rating: 10 Votes
16 weeks ago
If Verizon and Sprint would quit using CDMA, this would be a non issue
Rating: 9 Votes

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