According to the report, Apple has considered Samsung, MediaTek, and its current wireless chip provider Intel to supply 5G modem chips for the 2019 iPhones.
The claim comes from a testimony during Apple’s ongoing trial between Qualcomm and the U.S. Federal Trade Commision (FTC) today.
Apple’s supply chain executive Tony Blevins says that it went to Qualcomm originally due to its deep rebates on patent license costs.
Blevins testified that Apple has long sought multiple suppliers for modem chips but signed an agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively supply the chips because the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license costs in exchange for exclusivity.
Prior to 2016, Apple relied on Qualcomm exclusively for the iPhone’s wireless chips. Between 2016-2017, Apple split its supply chain, having Qualcomm and Intel as its suppliers. And in 2018, Apple solely used Intel chips for its iPhones.
Blevins says that Apple is also considering MediaTek and Samsung to supply the chips. He says that Apple wants to have variations in its supply chain, and that’s the whole reason the company’s Project Antique began.
“The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to [Intel] but we don’t want to be single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and [Intel] in the mix,” Blevins said.
Blevins did not mention whether or not Apple has decided on a 5G modem supplier, or if the company is releasing a 5G iPhone in 2019 at all.
Previous reports from various reports have speculated that the iPhone won’t get 5G at all until next year’s iPhones. Apple has a history of being behind in terms of cellular technology in its iPhones and iPads. The company didn’t release support for 4G LTE until the iPhone 5, and only the iPhone XS and 2018 iPad Pro’s support the latest 256 QAM and 4×4 MiMO LTE standards. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Apple waits till next year to implement 5G, waiting for better adoption around the world.
Would you upgrade to this year’s iPhone if it featured 5G? Let us know in the comments below!