Mobile Devices

Report: Apple may buy Intel’s 5G modem business

24 July 2019
Intel's 5G modem that may be getting acquired by Apple. Source: Intel

Apple may be looking to acquire Intel’s defunct 5G modem line in order to shore up technology for future iPhones, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The potentially $1 million deal would allow Apple to not rely on other chipmakers to develop modems for its iPhones. This reliance has been problematic in the past.

Earlier this year, Apple was in a dispute with Qualcomm over licensing and royalties for Qualcomm’s modems. While waiting for the court case to happen, Apple went to Intel to use their 5G modems for future 5G-capable iPhones. However, Intel was slow to develop the modems, meaning Apple would not be able to produce a 5G iPhone until 2020 at the earliest. Some sources said it would not have happened until 2021.

Qualcomm and Apple settled the dispute in April, and the company will be using Qualcomm modems for its future 5G iPhones in 2020. As a result, Intel said it planned to exit the 5G smartphone modem business and sell the assets.

During this time, Apple was reportedly working on its own 5G modem, in line with the company's history of controlling its own technology. Buying Intel’s fledgling modem business and acquiring the patents, portfolio and team of engineers, therefore, makes sense if Apple continues to go in the direction of developing its own devices for future smartphones.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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