After months of rumour, Apple has officially disclosed that it has acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business in a deal that will see the Cupertino company gain around 2,200 employees, intellectual property, and equipment from the latter firm for the princely sum of $1 billion USD.
The deal will see Intel retain the right to produce modems for IoT (Internet of Things) devices and other hardware, while Apple will likely pivot to producing its own 5G modems for upcoming iPhones, iPads, and other devices in the future.
The move will likely resolve the contestation that has dogged Apple and Qualcomm (the manufacturer of mobile modems and chipsets such as the Snapdragon range of processors), and it is estimated that Apple’s self-produced modems could arrive in devices in less than three years from today’s date.
Senior Vice President of hardware technologies at Apple, Johny Srouji, quipped that the bid would “help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”
Apple has increasingly weighed into the chipset and modem arena; specifically, the company has become acclaimed for the production of its own A-series processors as well as its W-chipsets that feature in its AirPod range.
While Apple has remained largely mum on the prospect of 5G, its acquisition of Intel’s modem business may also prove useful in the event that trade war tensions between the United States and China resume. Earlier this year, Huawei was threatened with the prospect of not only losing business with US-based companies but its very use of the Android operating system that a majority of its own smartphones run on.
As for Intel, the company has wasted no time in confirming its plans to swiftly exit the 5G market.
What are your thoughts? What benefits could an Apple-led production of 5G modems have for future iPhones and other devices? Let us know in the comments below.