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Apple may be looking to buy Intel’s 5G modem division for $1 billion

The Intel XMM 8160 5G modem will offer very clear improvements in power, size and scalability in a package that will be smaller than a U.S. penny. It will be released in the second half of 2019, and it will support the new standard for 5G (NR) standalone and (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) modes as well as 4G, 3G and 2G legacy radios in a single chipset. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Apple appears to be doing everything it can to get 5G supporting modems into future iPhone devices, with the Cupertino-based firm even deciding to squash its ongoing battle with silicon maker Qualcomm in order to do so.

Intel, which was helping Apple with its 5G ambitions at the time, was one of the casualties of that deal, and now the pair could be in talks once again as The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is looking to buy Intel’s 5G modem division for an estimated $1 billion.

Earlier in the year Apple decided to move from Intel as its 5G modems were some ways off from being commercially ready, which forced Apple to turn to Qualcomm, but now it appears as if the firm could soon have its 5G modem business following the reported Intel deal.

As such, we could see Tim Cook and co. opt for Qualcomm when it comes to the 5G capabilities of its next iPhone, as a means of getting it to market as quickly as possible, and then shift to its own in-house division to make 5G modems for future iPhone devices.

With the American company already handling the processor manufacturing for many of its devices, including iPhone, iPad and Mac, introducing the same methodology for modems seems a natural move. This especially as most major Android OEMs rely on Qualcomm for silicon, and Apple will no doubt want to differentiate itself from the competition.

How Qualcomm will react to the reports, and whether this will affect the pair’s current negotiations, remains to be seen.

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