According to informed sources, Apple is currently looking at switching to other modem suppliers for iPhone due to its ongoing tussle with Qualcomm. The company had accused Qualcomm of withholding promised payments of approximately a billion dollars due to its coordination with a South Korean antitrust investigation against it, resulting in a hefty fine of $853 million. Qualcomm on the other hand blames Apple for using the courts for the purpose of securing better pricing for its components and infringement on its chip production patents.
Considering this dirty tussle between Apple and Qualcomm, reports from December 2017 suggest the possibility of MediaTek Chips gaining a defining role in the iPhone’s modem supply chain. MediaTek has reportedly revealed the latest 5G modem chipset called the Helio M70 based on 3GPP standards. Not only this, the modem has the capability of transmitting data at up to 5Gbps over a 5G network while using a 7nm process by the known chip producer TSMC for lesser power consumption.
MediaTek is supposedly struggling hard to be able to obtain orders from Apple by releasing its modem six months ahead of the scheduled time. Sources suggest that it could be an indication that it wishes to win orders from Apple that also is trying to look for secondary modem suppliers other than Qualcomm.
Presently Apple is depending on modems from Intel and Qualcomm both for use in its iPhones but is actively looking to migrate away from the latter and reduce the proportion of Qualcomm modems to at least 30 percent. Uncertain sources have revealed that MediaTek might be bagging orders for customized WiFi Chips, needed for the HomePod. However, sources also claim that it might not be very soon that Apple would strike a deal with MediaTek and it is still considering the likely alternatives. Decision of whether or not the order must be provided to MediaTek depends on a number of things including product roadmap, collaborative efforts and technology development.