Apple has an Aggressive Roadmap for 5G Modems and may begin Limited Market Testing in Products as soon as 2021
Yesterday afternoon Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Signs Agreement to Acquire the Majority of Intel's 5G Modem Business to Further Differentiate its Products." The rumors of such a deal were in the wind for months. Now that the deal is done, it's being reported that the purchase of Intel’s assets will help Apple meet its aggressive timeline for producing a 5G modem.
While Apple plans to use Qualcomm’s modem technology for a 5G iPhone in 2020 as scheduled, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji want to have an internally developed 5G modem technology ready for use in at least one or more iPhones by 2021 and likely lower-end or older models to start with to test their 5G modems in different markets.
Ensuring worldwide compatibility is Qualcomm’s historical strength, and Apple might still have to rely on Qualcomm for some modems during a transition period to its own devices to be sure.
The Reuters source added that "There’s a fierce desire (at Apple) to have independence, but they also realize it has to be done responsibly."
Apple has engaged with Taiwan’s Global Unichip Corp, a chip design house in which Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co is an investor, to explore a modem design, but the work is in early stages.
Patents as Leverage
The most valuable aspect of the Intel deal for Apple could turn out to be patents. To sell a 5G iPhone, Apple will need to strike deals with the major holders of 5G patents, including Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Qualcomm. Apple executed a licensing deal with Qualcomm, but it has not disclosed whether it has deals in place with the others. Read the full Reuters report for more.
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