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MediaTek’s Wi-Fi Chip Contract for Apple’s HomePod Could Help it Get a Piece of the iPhone Modem Action

MediaTek’s Wi-Fi Chip Contract for Apple’s HomePod Could Help it Get a Piece of the iPhone Modem Action

MediaTek could be inching closer to becoming a supplier of iPhone LTE modems, after a report claiming the Taiwanese company is going to supply Wi-Fi chips for Apple’s HomePod.

AppleInsider:

The possibility of MediaTek becoming a modem chip provider to the iPhone is still on the table, according to sources of DigiTimes, with Apple still considering alternatives to using similar modems from Qualcomm. Sources believe that, if there have been talks between the companies, a decision won’t be made by Apple until an agreement could be made in a number of areas, including the product roadmap, technology development, and collaborative efforts. 

As is usual with reports like this, they are to be taken with a grain of your favorite salt substitute. However, if the report is correct, it means MediaTek will be providing the same Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules that are currently supplied by Broadcom.

At the moment, Apple uses modems from Qualcomm and Intel for its iPhone handsets, but is reportedly looking to move away from Qualcomm as a modem supplier.

Apple is in the middle of an ongoing court battle with Qualcomm. The Cupertino iPhone maker says Qualcomm is withholding nearly $1 billion in promised payments, following Apple’s cooperation with South Korean authorities and their antitrust investigation of Qualcomm. That investigation resulted in a fine of $853 million.

While this would indicate Apple would be looking to replace Qualcomm’s share of the action, analyst Gus Richard of Northland Capital Markets suggests that MediaTek could in fact displace Intel’s modem supplies.

MediaTek recently debuted a new 5G modem chipset, which is able to transmit data at up to 5Gbps on a 5G network, and uses a 7nm process by chip producer TSMC which provides reduced power consumption. That modem will be available starting in 2019.

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