It’s no secret that Apple is in a tricky situation when it comes to the chips it uses in its iPhones. Intel couldn’t produce a 5G smartphone modem chip fast enough to keep up with Apple’s rapidly moving iPhone timeline. So, the Cook-led company was forced to settle a drawn-out war with Qualcomm to keep up with the market.
Now, Intel has decided to abandon its modem chip business altogether and Apple smells blood in the water. Reportedly, the tech giant is “in advanced talks” to acquire the Intel division within a week. The move could radically re-shape the smartphone world in the coming years.
Ever since Microsoft bailed it out in the 90s, Apple has often relied on other companies to keep its products on the cutting-edge of the market. Thanks to brilliant branding and simple interfaces, the “i” devices have taken over the world.
With so much influence now in their pocket, Apple is working to cut back the amount of outsourcing it does. For one, it now controls production of the graphics chips rendering images within iPhones and iPads. Reports also suggest the Cupertino giant plans to design its own ARM-based processors for upcoming Mac computers.
So, the news that Apple hopes to extend itself into the realm of 5G research isn’t particularly surprising. With the future of smartphones inevitably going in the direction of 5G, it makes perfect sense.
Not to mention, Apple will have the last laugh in its feud with Qualcomm. The latter will lose out on billions of dollars should Apple actually acquire Intel’s modem division and start producing its own chips.
Although it isn’t clear how much the company plans to spend, the investment appears to be a sound one, regardless. It would acquire over $1 billion in patents, research, and top talent collected by Intel over the past decade.
Although the next generation of iPhones will likely contain the existing Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, this could be the last one to do so. In fact, the notion of an all-Apple iPhone is becoming more realistic.
Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. Often, outsourcing chip development helps companies keep costs down and allows them to focus on other aspects of a product.
Even so, it appears Apple wants to not only make its own chips but be at the forefront of the 5G revolution and research. Meanwhile, Intel appears to be turning its attention elsewhere. The legendary chipmaker may focus more on AI applications and chips for computers moving forward.
Should the deal with Intel go through as reported, Apple will secure itself as a leader in smartphones for the foreseeable future. Not that anyone had any doubts anyway.