Apple Considered Using 5G Modems From Samsung, MediaTek, and Intel for 2019 iPhones

The Intel XMM 8100 5G modem

Word on the street is that Apple isn’t rushing to adopt 5G technology in its iPhone lineup this year, but it appears that the company at least considered it.

According to a report from Reuters, based on testimony provided by Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins during the ongoing trial between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Qualcomm, Apple went to Qualcomm initially due to the rebates in place for patent licensing 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.”

But it wasn’t just Qualcomm that Apple was courting. According to Blevins’s testimony, Apple has also been in talks with MediaTek and Samsung to supply 5G modems for future iPhones. In this case, Apple was in early discussions to put the chips in the 2019 iPhone lineup. Interestingly, Apple just doesn’t want to solely 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.

“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.”

Before 2016 rolled around, Apple used Qualcomm chips in the iPhone lineup. However, between 2016 and 2017 Apple utilized Qualcomm and Intel chips. And then, in 2018, Apple opted to tap Intel as the exclusive supplier of modems for the iPhone lineup.

As for the 2019 iPhone lineup and 5G? Well, the report, nor Blevins for that matter, indicated that Apple had settled on a modem supplier, nor if the company had decided on launching a 5G iPhone in 2019. As it stands right now, the consensus appears to be that Apple is waiting until 2020 to launch a 5G iPhone. That rumor is further supported by Intel’s own plans to launch a 5G modem that same year.

If Apple could launch a 5G iPhone in 2019, would you want that to happen? Or should the company wait?

[via Reuters]