Amid the ongoing battle with Qualcomm, Apple is now reportedly looking to partner with Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek for a portion of the baseband modems it will use on 2018 iPhone models. The latest development emerges days after the iPhone maker was said to explore a similar partnership deal with Intel. Presently, Qualcomm is a major entity for Apple to deploy advanced modems on its iPhone models. But it appears that the long-standing disputes between the two companies can give chances to MediaTek and Intel to serve their native solutions to iPhone users in the future.
Apple is switching 50 percent of its iPhone modem chipsets orders from Qualcomm to Intel, while MediaTek appears to also be a candidate to become an additional modem chip supplier for iPhone models in 2018, Taiwan's DigiTimes reports, citing sources familiar with the development. The report claims MediaTek meets three principles that Apple follows in determining chip providers for its offerings. These principles are reported as "leading technological competitiveness, comprehensive product blueprints, and reliable logistic[s] support".
However, despite the supposed capabilities to meet Apple's principles, MediaTek will reportedly find it difficult to become a "regular player" in Apple's well-established supply lines for the iPhone and iPad. The chip maker, instead, is believed to be in a "good position" to provide tech for Apple devices such as smart speakers and wireless charging devices in the future, as it is said to lead in supplying chip solutions for such segments.
In late October, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is set to design iPhone and iPad in 2018 sans any Qualcomm chips. The news outlet highlighted that the Cupertino giant is considering building devices with chips from Intel and MediaTek. Similarly, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported last month that Apple is in talks with Intel to provide 5G modems on one of its next iPhone models. Kuo stated that the Tim Cook-led army is planning to expand its reliability on Intel for developing 70 to 80 percent of the baseband chips for future iPhone models.
Kuo has so far reported that Apple is preparing three new iPhone models for 2018, of which two are said to have 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED displays and one would debut with a 6.1-inch LCD panel. All these new models are said to have bigger battery packs and feature facial recognition based on Apple's Face ID.
In the world of modems, Intel and MediaTek have emerged as the two other names after Qualcomm. MediaTek already built some compelling chips against Qualcomm's Snapdragon lineup, whereas Intel recently started venturing into the mobile device market with its new Gigabit LTE developments. In November, Qualcomm even sued Apple for alleging sharing secret information with Intel to bolster creation of its native chips.
Earlier this month, Qualcomm filed three new patent infringement complaints against Apple. One of the three cases was a companion civil lawsuit that was aimed to resist Apple to sell iPhone models with Intel chips.