Apple Planning to Drop Qualcomm Chipset for Future Devices

Apple is reportedly designing its 2018 iPhones and iPads without Qualcomm LTE chips, despite being in the midst of a court battle with the chipmaker over patent royalties.

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to move forward with chip suppliers Intel and MediaTek. Adding to the tension, WSJ also said that Qualcomm withheld software for testing in chips in Apple product prototypes.

Apple has used Qualcomm chips in its devices for many years. But Intel modem chip were introduced in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last year. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus uses both Intel and Qualcomm chips.

For its part, Qualcomm said that its modem for the next-gen iPhone has “already been fully tested and released to Apple.” It added that it’s “committed to supporting Apple’s new devices.” But, the reassuring words don’t match the company’s actions.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s plans to stop using Qualcomm chips in its 2018 devices could still change. Apple could switch suppliers as late as June, three months before the launch of the 2018 iPhone.

The semiconductor and telecommunications technology giant has said that Apple has imported and sold iPhone devices infringe on one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents, which led to an investigation.

Apple had also filed a $1 billion USD lawsuit against Qualcomm, to which Qualcomm requested a block on manufacturing Apple products in China.