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Apple, Qualcomm may make peace over 5G, supply chain speculates
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2018/8/2 15:51:41

Leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm has revealed that new iPhone models for 2018 may not adopt its modem chip solutions amid a patent royalty row between them. But supply chain sources have speculated that Qualcomm and Apple will probably make peace when it comes to 5G chip supply.

The sources said that Qualcomm has shown no signs of backing off from claims to the royalty fees payable by Apple, which in turn is fighting back by stopping using Qualcomm's modem chips in new 2018 iPhone devices.

Nevertheless, the sources indicated, it has been well expected within the upstream and downstream supply chains that both sides may eventually patch up their broken relationships during the upcoming 5G era, as it would be too risky for Apple to bet on the yield rate of its 5G smartphone production adopting non-Qualcomm chipsets, while Qualcomm's 5G chip solutions now boast strong comprehensiveness.

Intel may supply modem chips for new 2018 iPhones

The sources continued that leveraging the rifts between Qualcomm and Apple, Intel is likely to capture all the orders for modem chips serving new iPhone models for 2018, and the company is also able to provide sufficient foundry capacities to better secure long-term orders from Apple.

Meanwhile, MediaTek has advanced by one year the release of its new-generation Helio M70 5G chip solution using 7nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, in an apparent move to solicit patronage from Apple for its 5G iPhones.

Supply chain sources said it remains to be seen as to whether Apple will resume the adoption of Qualcomm's modem chips for its 2019 iPhone devices. As there are now only three major makers of mobile modem chips in the world, Apple is unlikely to terminate partnership with Qualcomm over the long term.

The sources reasoned that new-generation 5G smartphones must be compatible with 4G communications specs in the short term, and performance, quality and yield rate are crucial elements affecting sales of 5G smartphones. Accordingly, global smartphone brand vendors can hardly avoid cooperating with Qualcomm, which has been undertaking technological cooperation with many telecom operators in the world and has already provided complete 5G product design solutions and chip platform for trial uses by brand customers for a long while.

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