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

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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.

Article Link: Barclays: There's Still a 'Good Chance' Apple Will Have to Use Qualcomm 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones
 
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csi24

macrumors regular
Nov 20, 2007
164
114
Maryland
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!
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,380
11,624
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.
 

kingtj

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Oct 23, 2003
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Yeah.... I normally just sigh and ignore the rest of the saga, when I hear about these legal battles between industry giants. I think a good portion of their profits are projected to come from whatever lawsuits they believe they can win in a given year, vs. actually making money selling products and services.

But when I saw some details on the Qualcomm arrangements, I thought it sounded suspect. Qualcomm seemed to be trying to penalize Apple every time it used a non-Qualcomm solution in its phones as part of their contract. (Reminds me of the B.S. with Microsoft years ago, where they'd only agree to sell a PC builder a Windows license at a discounted rate if the builder agreed not to load any competing OS on any of its products.)

I'm a big supporter of a "free and open marketplace", but I think you do have to draw some lines in the sand too. (You can't very well play a baseball or football game if you don't first have rules of play, and then a referee to enforce them.) People can write ANYTHING into a contract, but that doesn't always mean the legal system will uphold all of it. I'm not sure it should ever be legally enforceable to write up a contract that says the buyer is penalized for purchasing from another source?


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.
 

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
1,343
2,049
Interesting guess by Barclay's analyst. I'd prefer the Qualcomm stuff from a user perspective and there's still a good amount of time between now and the 2020's coming out at the end of 2020. Also alot of time for Intel to get their stuff fixed. Time will tell.
 
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alexnyc8

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2018
61
72
This whole 5G thing is the greatest experiment on people... according to quite a few researches constant bombardment by high frequency microwaves (which is what 5G is) is going to have health effects (key word is constant bombardment by very high frequency EMF (tens of gigahertz, 24/7).
Looks like the only beneficiaries of this will be big brother (as this will enable all kind of spooks wet dream - constant high resolution real time surveillance over just about everything), and ofcourse big telecom who will love to sell you "5gee betta den 4 gee".
https://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/dangers-of-5g/ (But just search 5G dangers, there is plenty of evidence and a lot of it by scientific and medical communities - ofcourse the benefactors will always say its not true)
 
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heov

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2002
249
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Apple can't just make a modem overnight. It takes time and money.

Cost of iPhone will likely go up if Apple has to spend billions on R&D to make their own... costing more than paying Qualcomms fee.

If it was cost effective to build their own modem, they'd do it. Apple is all about that green.
 

mikethemartian

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2017
535
782
Melbourne, FL
Yeah.... I normally just sigh and ignore the rest of the saga, when I hear about these legal battles between industry giants. I think a good portion of their profits are projected to come from whatever lawsuits they believe they can win in a given year, vs. actually making money selling products and services.

But when I saw some details on the Qualcomm arrangements, I thought it sounded suspect. Qualcomm seemed to be trying to penalize Apple every time it used a non-Qualcomm solution in its phones as part of their contract. (Reminds me of the B.S. with Microsoft years ago, where they'd only agree to sell a PC builder a Windows license at a discounted rate if the builder agreed not to load any competing OS on any of its products.)

I'm a big supporter of a "free and open marketplace", but I think you do have to draw some lines in the sand too. (You can't very well play a baseball or football game if you don't first have rules of play, and then a referee to enforce them.) People can write ANYTHING into a contract, but that doesn't always mean the legal system will uphold all of it. I'm not sure it should ever be legally enforceable to write up a contract that says the buyer is penalized for purchasing from another source?
A contract is a “meeting of the minds”. When you have attorneys from two large companies hammer out a contract everything in it, unless it contradicts the law, is enforceable. In contrast when you have a contract prewritten (contract of adhesion) by just one side as you would between a store and a consumer not every part of it can be enforced against the consumer since there was never a “meeting of the minds”.
 
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cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,291
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A contract is a “meeting of the minds”. When you have attorneys from two large companies hammer out a contract everything in it, unless it contradicts the law, is enforceable. In contrast when you have a contract prewritten (contract of adhesion) by just one side as you would between a store and a consumer not every part of it can be enforced against the consumer since there was never a “meeting of the minds”.
There are many other exceptions where a contract that doesn't otherwise contradict the law may be wholly or partially unenforceable, even when hammered out by attorneys at two large companies.
 

HacKage

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
420
710
Considering the cost of the iPhone, they should just bury the hatchet and put in the Qualcomm modems at the price agreed. Pay what you owe, and give people the best performance available. Don't throttle Qualcomm modems to be equal to inferior Intel units. If it costs an extra $10-20 per handset, that is nothing compared to the cost of the phone.

Many competitors have the best Qualcomm modems in phones that cost half the price.
 

timber

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2006
541
676
Lisbon
Samsungs modems are quite good but the same problem that makes them sell snapdragons in the USA instead of Exynos (with their own modems) would probably limit Apple.
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
14,291
8,886
California
Apple unhappy with both Qualcomm and Intel?

To Apple: "If you keep smelling sh*t, check your shoes."
Or it's just possible that two giant monopolies that sell the same thing to everyone don't allow apple to customize its products to provide unique value propositions.

Look at what Apple did when it eschewed Intel and Qualcomm for mobile CPUs!
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,564
2,133
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
 

Kaledatheone

macrumors newbie
Jul 3, 2012
20
11
Q didn't want to sell anything to Apple which is why they went all in with Intel on latest phones. So, what's different this time around?