CHIPMAKER Qualcomm refused to sell chips to Apple for its latest iPhone XS, XS Max and XR handsets, according to Cupertino's COO Jeff Williams.
Speaking during his testimony to the US Federal Trade Commission on Monday, Williams claimed that while Qualcomm is still providing chips for the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, the firm refused to provide components for Apple's latest iPhones since the latter sued Qualcomm for $1bn over shady business practices.
According to the testimony, Apple originally planned to split its latest modem order between Qualcomm and Intel, and only turned to Intel to supply all the modems after Qualcomm refused to sell.
"In the end, they would not support us or sell us chips," Willams said, as reported by CNET. "The strategy was to dual-source in 2018 as well. We were working toward doing that with Qualcomm."
This dependency on Intel could hamper Apple's plans to bring a 5G iPhone to market, too. While many OEMs, such as OnePlus and Samsung, have already revealed their plans to launch 5G-enabled devices using Qualcomm's X50 modem this year, Intel's 5G chips aren't expected to arrive until 2020.
Intel's 5G modems are slower than Qualcomm's too; back when Apple was sourcing from both chipmakers, it had to cap the speeds on Qualcomm modems so that one iPhone wouldn't have faster speeds than another.
According to recent rumours, these drawbacks could see Apple turning to Samsung and MediaTek to supply it with 5G modem chips.
Williams' testimony also revealed how much Apple has been paying for Qualcomm modems: $7.50 (around £8.50) per device, five times more than Apple wanted to pay.
Still, Williams said, the company didn't have much choice: "The alternative was if you don't accept it, it just defaults to the contract manufacturer rate of $18, $17. We needed their chip supply. If we tried to pursue them legally, we wouldn't have access to the chips. We didn't have a lot of options."
Williams' comments appear to contradict testimony from Qualcomm's Mollenkopf from Friday. He said that as of spring 2018, Qualcomm was still trying to win a contract supplying chips for iPhones but that it hadn't "had any new business" from Apple since its previous contracts expired. µ
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