Due to the legal conflict between Apple and Qualcomm, Apple might exclusively use Intel modems for all its models in 2018 and further.
Apple versus Qualcomm
Qualcomm has accused Apple of sharing the Qualcomm’s code with Intel and stopped offering software support for Apple to test Qualcomm’s LTE process on iPhone and iPad prototypes.
In consequence, Apple started to use Intel CPUs for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Even more, the iPhone X is sold in two variants, one that’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon x16, and another which is powered by an Intel XMM 7480.
Their battle, our loss
It seems that the customers are those who will lose because the quality of Intel modems is lower than that of the Qualcomm modules, according to some benchmark tests.
Moreover, Intel looks like losing the battle with Qualcomm on which has better 5G modems. It seems that the new 5G modems from Qualcomm are high-end, and Intel is not yet capable of competing with those.
However, fortunately for Apple, the Intel modems support both CMA and GSM, being possible for Apple to use the same modem to make its devices work on all major networks, both CMA and GSM.
Apple will use Intel, exclusively
The famous analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that in 2018 Apple will give up Qualcomm modems in favor of Intel, for good.
iPhone 9 and iPhone XS will be the first models in 2018 which will be released with exclusive Intel modems. Unfortunately, they will have a disadvantage to previous modems because Intel models are inferior to Qualcomm in terms of signal strength and mobile internet speeds.
Intel processors have already caused problems for Apple devices in the past, as the processors based on the Cortex-A8, Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 architectures used by Apple were susceptible to Meltdown and Specter attacks, which are exploits designed to attack the critical vulnerabilities of the Intel CPUs.