Apple looking beyond Qualcomm for smartphone components

Apple Inc is designing iPhones and iPads for 2018 that do not have Qualcomm Inc components as a dispute rages between the companies, according to a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported.

According to the person, the product plans are in early stages and may still change. The person, who requested anonymity as the matter is private, added that Apple might use modem chips from Intel Corp and MediaTek Inc instead of Qualcomm's. Apple's move comes amid a dispute over the iPhone maker's access to the San Diego-based company's proprietary technology, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Apple-Qualcomm stand-off is centred over patent licensing with the iPhone maker accusing the chip designer of abusing its market dominance with high royalties. In response Qualcomm is seeking to stop Apple from making and selling its smartphones in China. Apple's decision about next year's products comes after the San Diego-based Qualcomm withheld software needed to test chips in prototypes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

''The Qualcomm modem that could be used in the next generation iPhone has already been fully tested and released to Apple,'' Qualcomm said in a statement to Bloomberg News. ''We are committed to supporting Apple's new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry. Qualcomm's wireless solutions remain the gold standard for premium tier smartphones.''

According to commentators, Apple moving over to Qualcomm rival products would be a big change.

Apple has relied on Qualcomm chips all along until iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 series, and the iPhone X, Apple started using a mix of Qualcomm and Intel chips.

According to commentators, Apple generally looks for two suppliers for its key components, and as the battle with Qualcomm continues, it makes sense to have MediaTek onboard.