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The information first appeared in Ming-Chi Kuo's latest research note (via MacRumours and 9to5Mac), which details the KGI analyst's suspicions that Apple and Intel are forming an even closer bond than previously expected.

Apple could very well turn exclusively to Intel for such chips given the severity of the situation, but Kuo notes that exclusivity can't be determined at this point, considering Apple typically prefers diversity in the supply chain.

Qualcomm was hit with a $1.23 billion fine by European Union antitrust regulators last month for paying Apple to use only its chips, blocking out rivals such as Intel.

Apple has been sourcing baseband modems from both Intel and Qualcomm since 2016.

The cheaper version of iPhones did contribute a lot in keeping iPhone shipments buoyant in the holiday season.

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The Apple-Qualcomm battle has been long ongoing now.

In November 2017, KGI reported that Apple will improve LTE transmission speeds significantly by supporting 4×4 MIMO chipsets. As mentioned, the iPhone SE managed to attract a loyal following, and credit goes to its more-than-decent specs and functionalities. The Intel XMM 7560 modem includes support for GSM and CDMA, which allows the same modem chip to be used for iPhones on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Qualcomm had also sought a ban on iPhone X in the US. However, Kuo told investors that Qualcomm might return as a supplier to Apple, most likely as concessions in their lawsuit settlement. Benchmark scores have revealed in the past that iPhones running Qualcomm modems performed better than those running Intel chips. After losing the iPhone business, Qualcomm will be more aggressive in securing orders from Chinese smartphone vendors.

There seems to be two key reasons for a shift to Intel as an exclusive supply partner this year. The news however, is a blow to Qualcomm, which for a while enjoyed exclusivity with Apple. This time, he claims that all the handsets launched this year will run Intel inside.

"Apple experienced a slight downturn from the previous holiday quarter as iPhone volumes reached 77.3 million units, a year-over-year decline of 1.3%".


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