As the legal battle between the two companies continues to escalate, a new report from The Wall Street Journal says Apple is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that don’t incorporate Qualcomm chips…
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The report explains that Apple is investigating building devices with only chips from Intel and MediaTek. While the legal battle clearly plays a role where, the report also adds that Qualcomm has “withheld critical to testing its chips in iPhone and iPad prototypes.”
Qualcomm reportedly stopped sharing the necessary testing software earlier this year after Apple filed its initial lawsuit. Today’s report adds, however, that Apple’s plans for moving away from Qualcomm could change as it is still very early in the process.
Furthermore, Apple generally wants two suppliers of key iPhone components to better help it negotiate royalties – hence why it would want to add MediaTek chips to its arsenal.
Apple’s plans to exclude Qualcomm chips from next year’s model could still change. People familiar with Apple’s manufacturing process said the company could change modem-chip suppliers as late as June, three months before the next iPhone is expected to ship.
Still, some of the people said Apple hasn’t previously designed iPhones and iPads to exclude Qualcomm chips at a similar stage of the process.
Not using Qualcomm chips at all would be a stark change from previous users. Up until the iPhone 7 models last year, Apple relied heavily on Qualcomm chips. With the iPhone 7, and subsequently the iPhone 8 and iPhone X this year, Apple started using a mix of chips from Intel and Qualcomm.
Regarding its ongoing feud with Qualcomm, Tim Cook has stated that he would much rather settle than go through a lengthy court battle. He noted, however, that he expects a court battle to run its course in the end.
It all started earlier this year when the FTC lodged a complaint against Qualcomm. The organization alleged that the chipmaker forced Apple to use its baseband chips for higher royalties. Apple then filed its own $1 billion lawsuit. For its part, Qualcomm has attempted an import ban on iPhones in the United States, while it also filed to block iPhone sales and manufacturing in China.