The latest Apple iPhones are a Qualcomm-free zone according to people who have taken them to pieces.
Technology repair site iFixit did its usual thing of carefully disassembling the new iPhone XS to see what’s inside and there was no sign of Qualcomm. No Qualcomm modem, baseband, RF transceiver or even sensors. There is an NXP NFC controller though (too soon?).
This doesn’t come as a great surprise as the move had been rumoured at the start of this year, when litigation between the two was especially vigorous, and Qualcomm had indicated it feared the worst in a subsequent quarterly call. But this outright snub by the world’s most significant smartphone player is still a pretty negative moment for Qualcomm.
The big beneficiary is Intel, which has been in the modem game since the acquisition of Infineon a few years ago but has struggled to steal significant share from Qualcomm. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Intel had almost given its components away to Apple, such is the importance of Apple’s switch to its mobile efforts.
As you can see from the following screenshots of the iPhone XS RF board from the iFixit site there is a complete absence of anything Qualcomm. The logic board is dominated by Apple’s own ARM-based chips, as has been the case for while, but until now Apple had felt compelled to stick with Qualcomm for radio stuff. It will be interesting to see if users notice any difference in performance.