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Why the iPhone X might be Apple’s last ever phone to feature Qualcomm chips

The Apple vs Qualcomm spat just took another significant turn – and it’s one with big implications for 2018’s crop of new iPhones and iPads.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cites “people familiar with the matter,” Apple is set to drop Qualcomm’s modem chips from its mobile hardware as soon as next year.

That means that the incoming iPhone X could be the last Apple handset made to feature Qualcomm components.

While it’s not certain Apple’s 2017 flagship packs Qualcomm’s modems – the handset hasn’t been released yet, let alone torn down – it seems likely given that a number of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models were revealed to feature them.

However, there are a couple of caveats worth mentioning.

The first is that Qualcomm wasn’t Apple’s exclusive modem provider – the Cupertino-based company also equipped some iPhone 8 and 8 Plus devices with Intel modems.

Perhaps more interestingly, there’s also every chance that Qualcomm will be brought back into the fray next year, with industry insiders positing that Apple could leave it as late as June 2018 to finalise its component partners.

Should Qualcomm be frozen out, though, Intel stands to be big winner, while Taiwanese outfit MediaTek has been tipped to pick up some of the slack.

The bad blood stems from an early-2017 lawsuit filed by Apple against Qualcomm, which saw the Californian firm seeking damages of up to $1bn, having accused Qualcomm of claiming unfair licensing royalties.

It has been a back and forth legal struggle since then, with countersuits, withheld payments, and patent infringement claims all featuring in the behind-the-scenes tech soap opera.

The iPhone X is set to be released on Friday November 1, while Qualcomm is being tipped to launch its next-gen Snapdragon 845 SoC as soon as December.

Related: iPhone X vs iPhone 8

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