Apple has initiated discussions for the purchase of Intel’s modem unit in Germany. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that Apple has already been dropping enough hint of getting into manufacturing of its own chips for its future iPhone and iPad devices.
In fact, talks between Apple and Intel for the purchase of the latter’s chip facility in Germany is reported to have started some time back already. The two companies discussing the deal was reported last year and again in April itself. That there are reports of the two meeting again to take the deal forward is indicative enough of something concrete shaping up this time.
Apple had earlier been forced to use Intel modems on its iPhones and iPad devices following a tiff with Qualcomm that had resulted in the two companies facing more in the court of law than in boardroom meetings. This had also resulted in Intel modem equipped iPhone devices to suffer a drop in performance given Qualcomm chip’s superiority over their Intel counterparts.
The tables turned once Apple made the surprise announcement of having resolved all its differences with Qualcomm. While that paved the way for the use of Qualcomm chips on all of Apple’s mobile devices, including 5G chips, Intel too surprised all with its announcement to exit modem chip business altogether. That again applied to 5G chips as well that Intel has been developing and was touted to be ready within the next few years.
Meanwhile, Apple’s resolving of all differences with Qualcomm has paved the way for the company to use the latter’s 5G modem on its mobile devices. That translates to the first 5G iPhone being ready for launch by 2020, a timeframe that was pegged earlier but was being seriously doubted given the ensuing legal battle with Qualcomm and Intel not being ready with its 5G modem yet.
Apple’s ultimate aim though has been to develop its own modem chip for fitment on its iPhone devices. That, however, isn’t likely to fructify for several more years, with some sources maintaining the first 5G iPhone featuring an in-house chip isn’t likely before 2025. That might gain some pace though if Apple is able to acquire Intel’s chip facility which could also lead to several of the latter’s engineers joining Apple.