Apple reportedly in talks to purchase Intel’s German modem unit

Doris Richards
June 14, 2019

This should come as no surprise, as Intel had announced in April "its intention to exit the 5G smartphone modem business" altogether.

Apple is in talks to buy a key part of Intel's smartphone modem business, four people briefed on the discussions told The Information. One of those was supposed to Intel, which found itself constantly defending its ability to deliver a competitive 5G modem in the face of understandable scepticism from the industry and, increasingly, from Apple itself. While Intel's modem group is spread across the world, its foundation is in Germany, where the chip maker Infineon is based. This had also resulted in Intel modem equipped iPhone devices to suffer a drop in performance given Qualcomm chip's superiority over their Intel counterparts.

Intel said it has seen "significant interest" in its 5G modem business, but did not confirm which companies have been in contact.

Apple's ultimate aim though has been to develop its own modem chip for fitment on its iPhone devices.

The Cupertino-based company has made its own processors for the iPhone and iPad since 2010, while in 2017, it announced it planned to stop including United Kingdom chip manufacturer Imagination Technologies' graphics technology in favour of an alternative developed in-house.

Since Apple's first acquisition back in 1988, almost 12 years after the company was founded by Ronald Wayne, Steve Wozniak, and Steve Jobs, the company has acquired the full rights to 108 other technologies or assets, adding up to a total of 109 acquisitions. "Last year, Apple and Dialog struck a $600 million deal that brought 300 Dialog employees to Apple, along with some patents". Infineon has been associated with making wireless chips for Apple iPhones from 2007 to 2010.

On top of that, Apple has reportedly hired a number of Intel executives. Apple didn't want to delay the launch of 5G iPhones any further. It is reported that Apple plans to acquire the remains of Intel's 5G development.

Intel had said last November that it only expected to ship the 8160 5G modem in the second half of 2019, but Apple needed it by July this year in order to meet future handset release dates. For Apple that is interesting because the American iPhone maker can build his own chips and modems faster and is therefore less dependent on 3rd parties.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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