Apple Aims To Win 5G War By Acquiring Intel - But Only In The Longer Run!

A few months ago, there were headlines everywhere related to how Apple officially lost the 5G battle. Cashing upon that, a lot of analysts, tech bloggers and industry experts also predicted that this could turn out to be the loss that Apple might struggle to cope up with. However, Apple is back with something even bigger for future by acquiring Intel’s modem business in a $1 Billion deal.

Going into the depth of the deal, Apple will now own majority of Intel IP equipment, 17,000 wireless technology patents and more than 2,000 employees, who will move from Intel’s office to the world of Apple in Cupertino, California. By doing so, the company is ready to turn its plans of developing their own modems for iPhones a reality in the upcoming years.

Once Samsung and Huawei rolled out with their 5G phones, Apple had four options
  1. To go for settlement with Qualcomm and get 5G chips installed in iPhones of 2020
  2. Let Intel catch up with 5G modems (which got delayed already)
  3. Opt for Huawei’s 5G modems which seemed impossible due to the on-going trade war
  4. Apple could start developing their own 5G chips, while keeping in mind that it might take years to do so when competitors have already rolled out with 5G.
So, with all the exerted pressure Apple chose the safest route. They settled their deal with Qualcomm and at the same time, laid the groundwork to prepare its own modems for the near future.

Prior to this, Apple has always been dependent on Intel and Qualcomm for the production of their modems. Qualcomm in recent years turned out to be the obvious winner because of its efficient chips and this time again they stole the limelight by integrating 5G modems into Samsung’s flagship phones. On the other hand, Apple couldn’t benefit from the upgrade in technology due to a two year battle with Qualcomm on licensing fees and patent violations.

But once it got settled down, Apple first forced Intel to back out of its 5G modem plans by signing a deal in April to use Qualcomm’s modems for the next six years, with an extended time period of two more years and right after that they acquired Intel’s relatively cheap assets to develop chips right of their standards.

This deal first gives Apple eight years of perfect modem chips for their upcoming smartphones and in the meanwhile Tim Cook and his team can now work extensively to improve Intel’s modems with their own magic.

While one can doubt whether Apple still has the capability to beat the advance technology of Qualcomm, the answer to it seems a definite yes. Apple has one of the most talented SVP of hardware technologies Johny Srouji, on board to make it happen. His wide range of contributions for the company already made Apple the best-mobile processor producers in the smartphone industry as we have already seen custom chip components that gave power to features like Touch ID, Face ID and step tracking technology. It’s just time to do the same for another important iPhone component.


The only drawback to this can be that it won’t happen immediately. Although Apple will invest $1 Billion in Intel’s modem business by the end of 2019, it is still expected to remain a long-term initiative with a goal to dominate 5G technology and become more independent for its products

Hence, in the next five to six years, you can expect Apple to bounce back with their own 5G modems integrated into their smartphones. But for now, if rumors are to be true then the iPhone of 2020 will have 5G modem made by Qualcomm.


Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

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