Apple designing iPhones, iPads that ditch Qualcomm modem chips

Amid its bitter legal fight with Qualcomm over patent royalties, Apple is moving to eliminate Qualcomm’s components from the iPhone and iPad as early as next year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sources familiar with the matter said Apple is considering using modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek exclusively since Qualcomm has been withholding key software used to test its chips in prototype iPads and iPhones. Qualcomm disputes that claim, saying its “modem that could be used in the next generation iPhone has already been fully tested and released to Apple.”
Apple sourced its modem chips exclusively from Qualcomm until it started splitting orders between that company and Intel with the iPhone 7. While the plan could still change — Apple could swap chip suppliers as late as June without disrupting its manufacturing — the company has never before designed its devices to exclude Qualcomm’s components this far into the process. The severed relationship could hit Qualcomm fairly hard, as Apple accounts for around 13 percent of the company’s total chip sales, but with Intel and MediaTek widely considered to be inferior to Qualcomm’s products, Apple could also be stung by the decision.

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