Apple Considered 5G Modem Chips From Samsung, MediaTek, and Intel for 2019 iPhones

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Qualcomm, Apple, and other suppliers are in court this week as Qualcomm faces off with the FTC over an antitrust lawsuit accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to remain the main supplier for baseband processor for smartphones.

    Several Apple witnesses are testifying during the trial, which has led to the leak of some interesting, previously unknown information.


    Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins today said (via Reuters) that Apple considered purchasing 5G LTE modems from companies that include Samsung, MediaTek, and Intel for use in its 2019 iPhone lineup.

    Qualcomm was Apple's sole supplier for iPhone modems from the period between 2011 and 2016, with that exclusivity ending in 2016 with the launch of the iPhone 7.

    With the iPhone 7, Apple split modem orders between Qualcomm and Intel and then later phased Qualcomm out all together. Apple's most recent iPhones use modems exclusively from Intel, but today's testimony suggests Apple is working on diversifying its modem supply.

    According to Blevins, during the period when Apple used only Qualcomm chips, Apple had wanted to use chips from other suppliers as well but signed an exclusivity agreement with Qualcomm because Qualcomm offered deep rebates on patent licenses to discourage Apple from diversifying.

    In 2013, for example, Apple ended a plan to have Intel supply modems for the iPad mini 2 because Apple would lose Qualcomm rebates by using Intel's chips. This, said Blevins, made Intel's products "economically unattractive."

    After Apple finally swapped over to multiple modem suppliers in 2016 and 2017, its legal woes with Qualcomm affected the relationship between the two companies "in a very profound and negative manner," which led to Apple using Intel chips exclusively.

    Apple never wanted Intel as a sole supplier, however, and has always wanted to work with multiple companies.
    While Blevins mentioned 5G modem suppliers, he did not conclusively say whether or not Apple had decided on a 5G modem supplier nor whether a 5G modem is planned for the 2019 iPhone lineup.

    Rumors have suggested that Apple does not plan to introduce support for 5G in its iPhone lineup in 2019, with the company planning to hold off on 5G technology until at least 2020.

    Article Link: Apple Considered 5G Modem Chips From Samsung, MediaTek, and Intel for 2019 iPhones
  2. I7guy macrumors P6


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    The interesting tidbits that are outed by court proceedings, that gives us a small glimpse as to the inner workings of a secretive company.
  3. ka-spot, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    ka-spot macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2012
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    I think they'll skip 2019 and surprise! 2020 – new iPhone with new price range $1999 - $2999 ;)
  4. techwhiz macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2010
    Northern Ca.
    So the real issue is that Apple wants a the cheap prices from Qualcomm and wants the diversification outside of Qualcomm.
    They want to have their cake and eat it also.
  5. munpip214 macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2011
    I think that is key and this "news" is by no means a surprise. Apple always tries to source multiple suppliers. Now whether 5G is necessary or not, we will see. I'm still lucky to get 30Mbps on my LTE network. ISP should focus on increasing those speeds instead of spending even more money to install 5G systems. Of course the world revolves around the next best thing, so everyone will have 5G phones and networks, but won't make much of a difference.
  6. FrenchRoasted macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2016
    No, the whole issue is Apple doesn't want to pay a license fee based on the whole price of their phone, vs paying a straight fee based on the modem by itself.
  7. mrbrown macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2004
    Ozark, Missouri
    MediaTek? Really? Everything they make is garbage.
  8. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
  9. mdriftmeyer macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2004
    Pacific Northwest
    No, they want FRAND from all the modem providers.
  10. indychris macrumors 6502


    Apr 19, 2010
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Did Apple as a hundreds of billions of dollars valued company not have that figured out contractually with Qualcomm to begin with? I’ve never quite understood this whole fiasco.
  11. now i see it macrumors 68030

    Jan 2, 2002
    I'll fast forward and get to the bottom line: Qualcomm, you lose.

    Doesn't matter if they win some settlement for a few mill. It's over.

    But millions will still be spent on attorney fees to ultimately reach the same conclusion.
  12. Mr. Dee macrumors 68000

    Mr. Dee

    Dec 4, 2003
    I suspect Apple is gonna launch the 2019 models with 5G modems. Remember too, what is launching in fall 2019 is actually ‘2020’ iPhones. Since 5G supports fall back to 4G LTE anyway, its not likely you are losing any major benefit. Waiting all the way until Fall 2020 (which would be the 2021 iPhones), seems too far out.

    Personally, I am yet to see what the fuss is really all about, but it seems every smartphone vendor is using 5G as a platform to push their next gen devices.

    Since the iPhones launching this year will look pretty much the same as the iPhone X/XS, there needs to be some compelling benefits: Triple lens, A13 8 core SoC, WiFi 6, 6 GBs of RAM (8 GBs in Max), 5G Modem, potentially smaller notch to accommodate the triple lens.

    If Apple can sell a story around these under the hood improvements, then, they might get those still on iPhone 8 and X to upgrade as well as hold outs on older models. Not to mention, the trade wars should be settled with China and US by then. Throw in some trial services for 3 months and you might have better quarter going into 2020.
  13. Schranke macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Why the hell go for 5G in 2019. Get us a better signal instead, 4G provides more then enough bandwith...
  14. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    I guess I can see this happening in UK as EE have said it’s coming this year. Not sure any other carriers have said it’s coming.
  15. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    The contract expired. Apple wants new terms more favorable to their bottom line. Qualcomm wants to keep the same terms as the old contract, which favor their bottom line.
  16. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Partnering with Samsung is proof that Apple will use you when convenient then throw you under the bus when no longer needed. They have a history of doing that to their suppliers.
  17. tridley68 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2014
    It makes sense to have multiple suppliers my thinking is that then you would always have product in case one company has machine malfunctions and could not meet the supply demand.
  18. iRutherford macrumors member


    Oct 30, 2018
    Columbus, OH
    It's business. You will always make decisions that make sense—those that will cost you less, but provide the most benefit (e.g. profit).
  19. Baymowe335 macrumors 68040

    Oct 6, 2017
    QCOM was so stupid to go to battle with Apple.

    Now, they are going to have burned a bridge and will lose the long term war no matter what happens in these proceedings.
  20. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    To sum up, Apple was going to do something and didn’t. Not much of a meaningful story.
  21. killawat, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    How so? Samsung Exynos Modems are built by Samsung Semiconductor. Apple has used Samung Semiconductor for most if not all iPhones including but not limited to NAND and DRAM.
  22. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Mediatek powered Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is currently the best media streamer on the market killing the Nvidia Shield TV, Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra and Roku Ultra/Stick+ on video and audio decode capabilities and at 1/3 to 1/8 of the price when on sale for $30.
  23. Nozuka macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2012
    Which only really is a problem, because the iPhone keeps getting more expensive...
  24. ryanwarsaw macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2007
    Good luck selling a thousand dollar phone if people know 5G is coming the next year. There is no reason to upgrade this year again if you have an 8, X or later.

    The triple camera doesn’t add enough value for most people. At this point they should maybe do the triple lenses and lower the price. If not just skip it altogether and just simply lower the price.
  25. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    Camera is a big selling point for many people actually.

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