Apple is considering a new iPhone modem supplier as it looks to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm.
The company is yet to decide whether it will add MediaTek to its supply chain for its next-generation iPhone lineup. But Apple is keen to limit its dealings with Qualcomm after a recent legal spat in which the latter attempted to ban iPhone imports into the United States.
Qualcomm claims Apple has violated six of its patents covering microchip technology, while Apple argues that the patents shouldn’t have been awarded to begin with. As the legal battle rages on, Apple has been working to drop Qualcomm modems entirely.
Some iPhone modems are already supplied by Intel, and have been since Apple introduced the iPhone 7. Now the Cupertino company could add MediaTek as an additional supplier, reducing its reliance on Qualcomm even more.
Apple hasn’t decided on MediaTek modems yet
A deal with MediaTek seems some way off yet, however.
“It remains to be seen whether Apple will commit to buying model chips from MediaTek,” reports Digitimes. “Apple would not make a final decision until the two companies could reach a consensus on a number of aspects including product roadmap, technology development and collaborative efforts.”
MediaTek introduced its new 5G modem chipset, the Helio M70, at Computex 2018 early last month. It’s capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 5Gbps over a 5G network, while its 7-nanometer manufacturing process makes it small and energy efficient.
MediaTek is said to have introduced the Helio M70 six months ahead of schedule with the aim of winning orders from Apple.
Intel could lose out
Some sources claim, however, that if Apple does reach a deal with MediaTek, it will be Intel that loses out on iPhone orders, not Qualcomm.
Apple is also said to be considering MediaTek as a supplier for customized Wi-Fi chips for HomePod.