In the latest turn on the rollercoaster of Apple-Qualcomm relations, the chipmaker's financial chief, George Davis, has confirmed that Apple will solely use its competitor’s modems on its upcoming handsets.
Davis made the statement to investors during an earnings call, and its implication is that Intel (Qualcomm’s primary competitor) would instead develop the wireless chipset responsible for cellular and other wireless communications in Apple’s 2018 handsets – the iPhone XI and iPhone 9.
The move away from this specific chipmaker isn’t really all that surprising given the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, but it should ideally mean that all the products in Apple's 2018 lineup will use the same provider, which was not the case in the past.
What does the future hold?
While Apple has used Intel wireless chips in the past alongside those manufactured by Qualcomm, there’s nothing to indicate that it will continue its allegiance with either one of the companies into the future.
In fact, there were reports (opens in new tab) earlier this month that the 5G chip initially rumored for inclusion in Apple’s 2020 line of iPhones would no longer be developed by Intel, but the company since responded claiming its “5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.”
If there’s anything to be taken from the back-and-forth between these wireless chipset manufacturers is that the world of smartphone modems is a fickle one.