Over the past few months, we’ve seen scattered reports suggesting that Apple has been angling to drop Qualcomm as a supplier of LTE modems for the iPhone. About five weeks ago, for example, word surfaced that Apple was planning to tap both Intel and MediaTek as the sole modem suppliers for upcoming iPhone models. Of course, Apple’s interest in parting ways with Qualcomm shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the two companies are currently embroiled in a bitter and multi-billion dollar legal dispute regarding iPhone royalty payments.
Now comes word via KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — who has a rather solid track record with respect to iPhone rumors — that Apple’s longtime business relationship with Qualcomm is, in fact, coming to an end. In an investor note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo relays that all of Apple’s 2018 iPhone models will incorporate LTE modems from Intel.
“We expect Intel to be the exclusive supplier of baseband chip for 2H18 new iPhone models, while Qualcomm may not have a share of the orders at all,” Kuo’s note reads.
Kuo’s report is especially interesting given that some tests have shown that Qualcomm’s modems outperform those from Intel. That aside, Kuo adds that Qualcomm might be able to get back into Apple’s good graces by making concessions in their legal dispute, though it remains to be seen if Qualcomm would even be willing to entertain such an option. From what we’ve seen thus far, both Apple and Qualcomm have taken extremely strong and principled stances with respect to their dispute over royalty payments, with neither side indicating that they’d be willing to budge even an inch.