A billion dollars is the a record amount spent by Apple to no longer depend on China for 5G modems for smartphones. This is how much Apple paid to acquire Intel’s smartphone modem division and break away from Qualcomm. The operation, which began last July, ended these days. Now Cupertino will have the opportunity to produce its own modems for the new generation of cell phones that will connect to 5G networks around the world.
After the decision – taken in the first months of this year – to move production from China to other nations of the South East Asia (India, Indonesia, even Vietnam), Apple has thus taken a further step forward to ‘Americanize’ or rather ‘de-Chinesize‘ as much as possible the iPhones and the iPads. It was an obligatory choice for the company of Tim Cook following the politics and announcements of president Trump against the great Chinese technological producers, first of all Huawei.
Intel will abandon the field of smartphones, effectively giving exclusivity, in the USA, to Apple, but will continue producing new-generation modems for laptops, the Internet of things, the automotive and servers sectors. The acquisition will get effective with the passage of over 2000 Intel employees to the multinational in Cupertino and the access to the Intel patents.
Producing modems by themselves will allow Apple to both detach itself from dependence on an external supplier (and in particular from Chinese suppliers) for the realization of smartphones and tablets, and design components optimized specifically for its devices.
This whole operation must be read also as an attempt to push sales of the iPhone line upwards again, sales that saw the first decrease in the brand’s history in recent months. The company intends to project itself into the 5G era, recovering the land lost so far against competitors who are bringing to the market their products already compatible with the new mobile network generation.
Apple smartphones with 5G modems are scheduled for release in the first four months of 2020, although the iPhone 11 will probably continue to integrate Qualcomm modem inside it still for some time. It is likely that the first prototypes of the new Apple-branded “all American” devices, with modems produced directly in the USA, will begin to come out at the end of next year only.