Intel May Lose Apple Modem Business to MediaTek

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Apple may choose to use modems manufactured by MediaTek instead of modems from Intel in future iPhones, according to an investor's note from Northland analyst Gus Richard that was shared by Bloomberg.

Little detail was included in the note, but Richard believes Apple could be planning to shift its modem business away from Intel. The accuracy of that prediction is questionable, however, and there's no clear timeline on when Apple might be planning to make the shift. Presumably this would impact 2019 iPhones, as deals for 2018 iPhones are established.


For many years, Apple relied solely on Qualcomm chips, but added Intel as a manufacturer a couple years ago. Current iPhones use LTE chips from both Qualcomm and Intel, but Apple is embroiled in a lawsuit with Qualcomm and is rumored to be aiming to ditch Qualcomm chips, too.

Given the sheer number of iPhones Apple produces each year, it's not clear if Apple could rely on MediaTek as sole supplier for its LTE chips, so the conflicting rumors of Apple cutting ties with both Intel and Qualcomm are somewhat confusing.

Apple is developing its own modem chips to reduce its reliance on both Intel and Qualcomm, but it will need to continue to use third-party chips until its in-house solution is ready to be deployed in iOS devices.

Current rumors suggest Intel will supply approximately 70 percent of LTE chips set to be used in the 2018 lineup, with the rest of the chips continuing to come from Qualcomm.

Apple is also moving away from Intel chips in its Mac lineup, with rumors suggesting the company is developing its own custom Mac chips that could be deployed as early as 2020.

Tag: Intel

Top Rated Comments

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28 months ago

If I was Intel, I'll tell Apple to screw off if they gonna play that game. All that money intel is pouring in r&d and machinery and Apple is gonna just play them for a fool. Not worth the investment, let them go back to Qualcomm.

And this simplistic reaction is exactly why you'll never run a successful multinational company. Business and capitalism aren't about some bizarre loyalty or friendship structure. They are ultimately about one thing: profit. If Intel did something like that, they would lose because Apple would just turn to their competitors for all chips outside of processors and likely accelerate the move to ARM completely. They could even potentially tap AMD for processors and give them an enormous leg up.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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28 months ago

Apple is pretty much out of the pc business as is

Ah, this explains your "screw off" remark in your first comment. You're extrapolating your personal frustrations with Apple onto a multinational profit-driven corporation.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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28 months ago
Multi-sourcing of components is nothing new for Apple, not really news here (other than maybe to speculate on intel's stock).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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28 months ago
If I was Intel, I'll tell Apple to screw off if they gonna play that game. All that money intel is pouring in r&d and machinery and Apple is gonna just play them for a fool. Not worth the investment, let them go back to Qualcomm.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Apple is also moving away from Intel chips in its Mac lineup, with rumors suggesting the company is developing its own custom Mac chips that could be deployed as early as 2020 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2018/04/02/apple-custom-mac-chips-2020/').

There's zero evidence to back up that claim. All speculation. But this is Mac Rumors so anything goes
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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28 months ago

Good. Intel's cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios have generally always been subpar compared to competitors.

The Intel 8265ac and 9260ac for example are better than their Qualcomm (ie Killer 1535 aka QCA6174A) and Broadcom (numerous Bluetooth issues to the point I replaced quite a few with Intel cards) counterparts stability/reliability wise. Never had an issue with their WiFi cards. Broadcom doesn’t even have properly working MU-MIMO which when enabled actually drops performance and my experience had Bluetooth issues, unlike Qualcomm/Intel client chipsets. Even router chipset side Broadcom is kinda behind.

I’d say at the moment Broadcom is the worst of the three. All the WiFi cards in my laptops are Intel, even the corporation where my father works all their high end Precision/Latitude notebooks use cards ranging from 7265 to 8265 and they prefer those over QCA and BCM (Broadcom cards) during order for reliability. At moment in my experience router side QCA9984 is the best WiFi chipset (ie in R7800, RT2600AC) and client side Intel 8265/9260ac.

Cellular side however Qualcomm is probably the best no doubt. Enough tests have shown that at least with iPhones to the point I buy the QCA sim free phones.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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