According to foreign media, Bloomberg reported that Gus Richard, an analyst at foreign investment bank Northland Capital City, analyzed and predicted in an investor report that Apple's baseband chips may abandon Intel and Qualcomm and use MediaTek products. Is it difficult for MediaTek to change from Phoenix to Apple Thigh?
Qualcomm has been the sole supplier of Apple's baseband chips, but since 2016, Apple has introduced Intel baseband chips for the first time on the iPhone 7 in order to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm, although the proportion is less than 20%.
As the relationship between Apple and Qualcomm increased in 2017 and led to a deterioration of relations, Apple intends to reduce the proportion of Qualcomm baseband chips. Apple's order for three new iPhone baseband chips announced in 2018 has been confirmed, Intel will take 70% of the iPhone LTE chip orders, the rest is responsible for Qualcomm.
Although there are still differences between Intel's baseband chips and Qualcomm, in order to curb Qualcomm, Apple does not hesitate to reduce some of the features of the Qualcomm version to balance the two. This can be described as killing one thousand and losing eight hundred. This kind of thing can only be done by giants such as Apple's supply chain.
Due to the limited details disclosed in the report, foreign media claimed that the accuracy of the report is doubtful. However, in November 2017, there was news that Apple had secretly contacted MediaTek. The cooperation between the two parties will take place in four directions, including mobile phone baseband, CDMA IP authorization, Wi-Fi custom chip and smart speaker HomePod chip.
In 2018, there was another news in the market. Before the iPhone baseband chip order was finalized, MediaTek would first take down orders for upcoming HomePod Wi-Fi chips. This is the first time that MediaTek has cooperated with Apple. Although MediaTek did not confirm, there are still Taiwanese media forecasts that MediaTek will soon receive iPhone baseband chip orders in 2019.
In addition, Chen Guanzhou, general manager of MediaTek at the Taipei International Computer Show earlier this month, revealed the news of the 5G modem chip M70: “MediaTek's 5G Helio M70 modem will be ready next year. We have already conducted in-depth cooperation with Nokia, Huawei, and NTT Docomo. I hope that next year will bring everyone the technology and stable M70 products.
The market expects that MediaTek's 5G baseband chip will mature in 2019, and entering the Apple supply chain may not be groundless. However, it is not ruled out that Apple has put pressure on it and wants to put pressure on Qualcomm and Intel. For Qualcomm, Intel and MediaTek have gradually become Qualcomm's powerful rivals in the communications chip field.
The report further stated that if MediaTek’s news of grabbing Apple’s baseband chip is true, it will affect the iPhone product in 2019. At that time, it may form a baseband chip purchase program based on MediaTek and Intel, and completely abandon Qualcomm.
In addition, Apple has always sought chip independence, and is currently planning to abandon Intel’s switch to its own chips as soon as 2020. In terms of baseband chips, Apple is also speeding up its own chip R&D. In the future, it is very likely that it will completely manufacture its own baseband chips. The future of Apple is very likely to become a highly closed business empire.