Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based Qualcomm as the sole supplier of such chips, which help iPhones connect to wireless networks.
San Jose: Qualcomm sought to become the sole supplier of modem chips for Apple's iPhone to recoup a $1-billion "incentive payment" that Apple insisted on, not to block rivals from the market, Qualcomm's chief executive testified on Friday. According to Blevins's testimony, Apple has also been in talks with MediaTek and Samsung to supply 5G modems for future iPhones.
Apple's alleged reasoning was that swapping modems was expensive and the incentive would "ease the technical costs". The company's supply chain executive Tony Blevins told the court that generally Apple would use at least two suppliers, but it abandoned plans to put an Intel modem chip in the iPad Mini 2 as it would result in the loss of the Qualcomm rebate everywhere, resulting in higher costs overall.
"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. Interestingly, Apple just doesn't want to exclusively use Intel as the supplier of this particular product in its iPhone lineup, and apparently still wanted to retain the Qualcomm and Intel situation it had years ago.
Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019. However, its business relationship with Qualcomm changed "in a very profound and negative manner" after the lawsuit was filed in 2017. Citing sources, Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would not release such a phone until 2020.