Qualcomm and Apple have been embroiled in a high-profile dispute over patent royalties for several years now and while the Cupertino-based tech giant is now said to be prepared to ditch the chipmaker's modems with the next iPhone generation and replace them with Intel-made modules, the duo is likely to eventually bury the hatchet, sources from Taiwan's mobile component supply chains claim. DigiTimes reports that the general industry consensus on the matter is that Apple won't risk relying on non-Qualcomm 5G modems due to major concerns about production yield rates, as well as the fact that Qualcomm's first-generation 5G chips are believed to be the most versatile solutions of their kind, capable of communicating with virtually every planned implementation of the new wireless technology.
At least the first several generations of 5G-ready handsets will have to be fully compatible with 4G LTE networks as 5G coverage is likely to be inconsistent, and with Qualcomm already holding a vast amount of patents in both segments, Apple would be hard-pressed to completely circumvent the San Diego, California-based technology giant without risking its ability to deliver tens of millions of new iPhones to consumers around the globe on a quarterly basis. Due to that state of affairs, the firm is unlikely to completely end its relationship with Qualcomm in the long term, insiders argue. Even if Apple was to attempt being completely reliant on Intel or MediaTek, it would still have to cooperate with Qualcomm on optimizations as the semiconductor juggernaut is deeply entrenched in the 5G R&D through numerous partnerships with network operators.
Qualcomm itself previously said it's expecting to make peace with Apple at some point in the future but the two firms are still in the process of resolving their differences in the court of law. The iPhone maker remains adamant that Qualcomm's patent licensing practices are unfair and allow the firm to charge for innovations it had nothing to do with, whereas the chipmaker is dismissive of that notion and argues that Apple repeatedly broke valid contracts, both by refusing to pay its royalties and via other means.