Apple and Intel announced Thursday that the iPhone will acquire the chipmaker’s smartphone modem business. Wired looked into the $1 billion deal. One analyst explained that it highlighted how Apple is slowly taking control of its 5G future with the purchase.
The modems in Apple devices have been an exception to the company’s usual tight integration. Competitors such as Samsung and Huawei build their phones around chips that bundle the main processor and modem circuitry. That offers cost and space savings. In Apple’s devices the custom processor and externally sourced modems have been separate components. Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research, says buying Intel’s modem unit will allow Apple to make integrated processors and modems of its own. As with Apple’s other chip programs, that should provide cost savings and opportunities to create unique new features. “Apple has long wanted to control its platform completely,” he says.