The iPhone models introduced next year and beyond could have modems made by one of the fastest-growing chipmakers in the world. MediaTek is making its case to be picked as a modem supplier for Apple’s iPhone, according to DigiTimes.
Multiple suppliers are aiming to woo Apple with 5G-ready modems. The next-generation wireless technology is expected to go live in 2019, and MediaTek’s Helio M70 should arrive on schedule.
The Helio M70, which debuted at Computex Taipei last month, can reach data speeds of up to 5Gbps. MediaTek is using the 3GPP standards that have been talked about at length by major U.S. carriers in recent months.
If MediaTek’s modem ends up in an iPhone next year, it could be because of timing. The chipmaker says its Helio M70 is six months ahead of schedule while others are still facing technological hurdles.
Apple would like to lessen its reliance on Qualcomm for modems, especially since the two companies have been locked into a courtroom battle. Intel, one of Qualcomm’s biggest competitors, is already being asked to ramp up production on modems for the iPhone models launching later this year.
As it awaits a decision, MediaTek could see it receive a massive order to supply the HomePod’s Wi-Fi chip.
In the not-so-distant future, the Cupertino-based company might have more than just chips to use inside every product.
The secret research and development laboratory in the Pacific Northwest is believed to be developing custom chips. Apple already makes them for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The entire Mac lineup is likely next, and Apple does have some interest in expanding to other components that are normally expensive to bring in from an outside supplier.
As for 5G connectivity, Apple will at least start with assistance from a supplier. Just don’t expect it to be in an iPhone this year or even next year. Many analysts believe Apple will have 5G connectivity in an iPhone in 2020, later than when competitors should be ready.