According to Qualcomm’s CEO, the company specializing in telecommunications chips has not received any orders for 5G modems from Apple by 2024. For him, this is a sign that Apple could equip its iPhone 16s with ‘a home modem, marking the break between the two American multinationals.
The two American companies have not been friends for a long time, but the break is confirmed. When asked on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, the head of telecom chip giant Qualcomm said on Wednesday March 1 that Apple plans to equip its upcoming iPhone 16 with its own 5G modems.
Cristiano Amon explains his reasoning: while an order for millions of chips is often placed several years before a product is launched, Qualcomm has not received any orders for 2024, the expected launch date of the iPhone 16. We are not planning anything for 2024, I guess we don’t provide a modem [à Apple] in 2024“, concludes the CEO on the air of the American channel CNBC.
Years of disputes and a lawsuit of 30 billion
The announcement is not very surprising to those who follow the modem market. Although almost all iPhones produced by Apple are equipped with Qualcomm chips to access 3G, 4G, and later 5G networks, Apple has been trying to break free from the manufacturer and use its own modems for several years.
As the online media remember 9thMac , the two multinationals no longer get along since Apple accuses Qualcomm of double profiting, asking both to pay the sale price of their chips and a royalty for the use of patents related to them. In 2017, Qualcomm accused Apple of convincing its partners not to pay this blackmail fee.
Two years later, the processor giant refused to sell its modems for the iPhone XR and XS. Tensions peaked until the announcement of a lawsuit in 2019 in which Apple sought $30 billion in damages… before finally falling like a puff.
Apple modems based on the Intel project
Because yes, a few days before the trial, Apple and Qualcomm finally agreed to renew the contract. A grudging decision, he explains 9thMac : In 2019, Apple bought processor giant Intel’s modem division to speed up development of its in-house modems, but they weren’t quite ready to part with Qualcomm yet. Resigned, the manufacturer continued to equip its smartphones with these modems, including the latest iPhone 14 and the upcoming iPhone 15.
It is this responsibility that pushes the CEO of Qualcomm to conclude that the iPhone 16 will be equipped with Apple modems. A decision that would make sense, in a context in which technology giants are increasingly seeking to produce their own components, such as Google’s Tensor chips or Samsung’s Exynos for their computers.
Despite this bad sign, Cristiano Amon keeps the door open, tellingCNBCthat “it is up to them to make the final decision“, but Apple seems to have broken with its former business partner.
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