The latest reports surrounding Apple suggest that the company is gearing up to spend around a billion dollars in order to acquire most of Intel’s modem activities. Such a deal represents a major coup for Apple, but also represents a practical solution for Intel – as the company in recent times has been no match to Qualcomm’s success –as even in most iPhones there are present Qualcomm’s modems. Nevertheless, earlier in the year, Intel had actually confirmed that it was looking to sell, and so the deal does not come as a surprise.
With the agreement between the two in mind, Apple will not only be getting more than 2,000 employees at Intel, but the company will also be eligible to inherit a treasure chest of more than 17,000 wireless technology patents which will cover everything from modem architectures to cellular standards. Intel will still be able to work on 5G modems – however, not the ones that have been designed for smartphones.
With the news of the deal, many have pegged the question as to why Apple is looking to strike up a deal in the first place : well, it is worth remembering that Apple is still smarting from a long-running legal dispute that involves itself and Qualcomm – over royalty payments as well as alleged patent infringements which have been linked to the chipmaker’s modem technology. With the relationship between Apple and Qualcomm turning sour, the company took upon the decision to explore what Intel has to offer.
Back in April, the lawsuit was finally settled, which meant that Apple agreed to a six-year licensing deal with Qualcomm – this featuring as part of the peace deal. Though the latest deal with Intel is the clearest indication to Qualcomm that Apple has its own backup in the event that another dispute between the two company arises.
As far as the iPhones to be released in the next few years are concerned, they will still mainly use Qualcomm’s wireless technology in light of the legal settlement. However, considering Apple’s stride for innovation, one can imagine the manufacturer to come up with novel ideas for the refinement of modems some time in the future.