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Barclays: There's Still a 'Good Chance' Apple Will Have to Use Qualcomm 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones

While recent reports have suggested Intel will supply Apple with 5G modems for 2020 iPhones, the chipmaker has struggled with its consumer 5G modems, to the extent that Apple has allegedly "been unhappy" with Intel's progress.


Despite its apparent displeasure with Intel, a report in November claimed that Apple had not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for 2020 iPhones. Instead, Apple recently testified that it held conversations with Samsung and MediaTek as potential alternative suppliers.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, however, analysts at investment bank Barclays said they "still believe there is a good chance Apple will have to use Qualcomm for the 5G modem in their 2020 phones." They also believe such a deal may result in the two companies settling their ongoing lawsuit.

It's a bold claim, as Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a bitter legal battle around the world. The saga began in 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm over anticompetitive business practices related to royalties. Qualcomm has denied the allegations and says the iPhone wouldn't exist without its innovations.

Apple COO Jeff Williams recently testified that Qualcomm has been unwilling to provide Apple with any new wireless chips since the legal battle began, with each company seemingly trying to gain the upper hand on the other. As of now, neither company appears willing to back down.

Qualcomm is widely considered to be leading the industry with its 5G efforts though, and there's a good chance its 5G modems will outperform similar offerings from Intel, so perhaps the two companies will find a way to settle their differences.



Top Rated Comments

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5 weeks ago
Apple needs to hurry up and design their own modem.
Rating: 12 Votes
5 weeks ago
Can you "hurry up" and develop a modem? Especially one that's better than the competition, and they have decades of a head start.

Apple needs to hurry up and design their own modem.

Rating: 8 Votes
5 weeks ago
We all knew this was gonna happen. Until Apple can make their own modems, they'll have to kiss and make up with Qualcomm.

The Intel modem and the stupid new antenna design on the Xs Max caused me to return my Max a week after launch. The signal was worse than my 7 Plus!
Rating: 5 Votes
5 weeks ago

Once Apple designs their own modem, it's going to be game over!!!

Apart from the gazillion patent suits that will appear from all over the place.
Rating: 5 Votes
5 weeks ago
There is more at stake here than just bad blood between Qualcom and Apple. The FTC has legitimate concerns about Qualcom's unethical trade practices.

The courts need to make a ruling on this so a precedent can be set for other companies.
Rating: 4 Votes
5 weeks ago
Once Apple designs their own modem, it's going to be game over!!!
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago
Goodness reading about Qualcomm and Apple these days reminds me of all the gossip about middle school squabbles I hear when I pick the kids up from school. :rolleyes:

It’s really shocking how similar this all is to a big row my kid was having with her best friend for six months when they both hit puberty at the same time and lost their minds. They finally put it past them and are conducting themselves with impressive dignity these days. Apple and Qualcomm have been at this for years and are allegedly run by adults. It’s rather discouraging.
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago

I agree with what you say, but FRAND clouds the issue quite a bit. Companies using Qualcomm tech (and this includes all the phone makers, not just Apple) are and have been sort of forced into contracts that they do not feel are fair. There wasn't a true "meeting of the minds" to borrow your phrase, they just didn't have any choice. And society has decided that tech that falls under FRAND regulations is considered essential and beneficial to society. So its interests extend beyond just the two parties to the contract.

You don't sign a contract you think is unfair.
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago

Apple, develop their own modems. and stop using Intel modems. These clearly are problematic time and time again.


I think they will make their own chip eventually. Their main product depends on the modem, and even the Apple Watch is implementing cellular, so does the iPad. Makes sense to have a custom solution there, but they're going to have a lot of problems dealing with patents
Rating: 3 Votes
5 weeks ago
I am sure over the years Apple has done it's fair share of squashing companies into submission into doing what it wants. Now they have come up against a company they cannot 'squash' they are throwing their toys out the pram because they are not getting what they want.
Rating: 3 Votes

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