Apple has reportedly shifted half of its baseband modem chipsets for iOS devices to Intel from Qualcomm, and is now considering shifting additional orders to Taiwanese manufacturer MediaTek.
The news comes at a time when hostilities between Apple and former manufacturer Qualcomm continue to heat up, with no signs that they will come to a close soon.
Sources claim that Apple is “actively seeking new chip suppliers” to take on orders that it previously would have given to Qualcomm. Apple has used Qualcomm chips since the very earliest days of the iPhone, although more recently it has begun to use chips from Intel as well.
MediaTek has declined to comment on the speculation, but says that it is “working hard” to gain new orders from potential customers. In addition to modem chips, MediaTek could also help provide Apple with chips for smart speakers, wireless charging devices and wireless connection systems, which could make it a valuable partner.
The company reportedly meets Apple’s demands for chip manufacturers that offer technological competitiveness, comprehensive product blueprints, and reliable logistic support.
Apple vs. Qualcomm
The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm started in January this year, when Apple sued Qualcomm for allegedly withholding $1 billion in rebates because Apple assisted South Korean regulators investigating Qualcomm’s business.
Qualcomm hit back by arguing that Apple had breached its contract. The subsequent decision by Apple to withhold royalty payments to Qualcomm then meant that Qualcomm was forced to revise its earnings forecasts to give a smaller number, due to Apple cutting off one of its major sources of revenue.
Apple’s manufacturers also got dragged into the fight, with even Apple’s biggest rivals stepping up to support Apple. Since then, the battle escalated — with Qualcomm attempting to ban iPhones being imported to the United States that use chips, “other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.”
Last month, both Apple and Qualcomm filed new lawsuits and counter-lawsuits against one another. Qualcomm is currently seeking a ban on the import of all AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone X and iPhone 8 units in the U.S., while Apple claims that Qualcomm is infringing on its patents by using tech in its Snapdragon mobile phone chips that belongs to Apple.