The Wall Street Journal reports that in the wake of an ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing iPhones and iPads that do not include Qualcomm baseband chips. Instead, the devices will use chips from Intel and MediaTek.
The report explains that Apple is investigating building devices with only chips from Intel and MediaTek. While the legal battle clearly plays a role where, the report also adds that Qualcomm has “withheld critical to testing its chips in iPhone and iPad prototypes.”
The report warns however, that Apple’s plans for moving away from Qualcomm could still change, as the whole process is still in early days. Qualcomm reportedly withdrew necessary testing software earlier this year soon after the iPad maker filed its initial lawsuit.
Apple would like to source their baseband chips from multiple suppliers, giving them better leverage to negotiate royalties to its suppliers.
Apple’s plans to exclude Qualcomm chips from next year’s model could still change. People familiar with Apple’s manufacturing process said the company could change modem-chip suppliers as late as June, three months before the next iPhone is expected to ship.
Still, some of the people said Apple hasn’t previously designed iPhones and iPads to exclude Qualcomm chips at a similar stage of the process.
Until the release of the iPhone 7, Apple relied heavily on Qualcomm chips. As of the iPhone 7’s release, they began using chips from both Qualcomm and Intel.
Apple earlier this year sued Qualcomm for roughly $1 billion, saying the company has been “charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.” The suit came on the heels of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against Qualcomm over unfair patent licensing practices, which alleges that the company forced Apple to buy wireless chips in exchange for better royalty rates.
The iPhone maker also alleges that Qualcomm has taken “radical steps,” including “withholding nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them.”
Qualcomm fired back at the Cupertino firm soon after, attempting to get an import ban on iPhones in the United States, and also attempting to block iPhone sales and manufacturing in China.