According to the latest news, Apple and Intel have reached an agreement on the business of smartphone modem chips (baseband chips). Apple will acquire a majority stake in Intel’s smartphone modem business, while 2,200 employees of the unit will join Apple, and the entire deal will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
Although Apple can develop its own processor chips for mobile devices with world-class performance, its baseband chips still need to rely on giants like Qualcomm or Intel. Until Qualcomm settled with Apple, Intel had been the sole supplier of 4G baseband chips for Apple’s mobile phones and tablets for the past year or two. But with Intel lagging behind in 5g baseband chips and Apple’s weak ability to develop its own baseband chips, Apple had to reconcile with Qualcomm. After investing huge human and material resources in the development of 5g baseband chips, Intel announced that it would abandon the research and development of 5g baseband chips.
The former Apple iPhone used the baseband chip of Qualcomm, but later Apple began to mix the baseband of Qualcomm with the baseband of Intel. As a result, users found that the iPhone with the high-pass baseband chip had better signal and faster network speed. By the time of the iPhone Xs generation, Apple had all adopted Intel baseband, but then a series of problems arose, such as poor signal, less mobile process, and more importantly, Intel had no way to develop 5G.
Although the research and development of Intel’s baseband chip can be greatly improved after the acquisition of Intel’s baseband R&D department, the development of the chip is not a matter of overnight. It still needs several years to make a breakthrough. In a short time, if Apple wants to support 5G on the future iPhone, it may still depend on Qualcomm. What do you think of this?