Enterprise

Apple is buying Intel’s 5G modem business

For a billion dollars

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When are Apple’s iPhones getting 5G modems? For such a simple question, Apple has notoriously barreled through controversial hoops just for a conclusive deal. Notably, Qualcomm, a known modem supplier, kept barring the company from fulfilling its 5G dreams. The two companies buried the hatchet only a few months ago. The newfound peace treaty awakened a new multiyear deal, supposedly bringing Qualcomm’s 5G chips to the iPhone.

Despite the good news, the deal still carries a modicum of controversy and uncertainty. For one, Qualcomm is still a volatile business partner. The chipmaker infamously goes for quirky tactics to gain an upper hand. Just this week, the European Commission brought the hammer down against Qualcomm’s unfair pricing schemes.

Secondly, because of the deal, Qualcomm’s competitors suffered a huge blow in the 5G race. For example, Intel surrendered its efforts after the new deal’s inking. Before the deal, Apple was a steadfast customer of Intel’s chips. Even with uncertainty, Qualcomm is forging a subtle oligopoly in the modem race. (Samsung is still in the race.)

Unsurprisingly, some companies refuse to submit to the impending monopoly. However, Qualcomm’s newest defector comes as a huge surprise: Apple itself. Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Apple is finalizing a deal to acquire Intel’s modem business. For a staggering US$ 1 billion, the iPhone maker will acquire Intel’s slew of patents, resources, and staff. The deal will reportedly close as early as next week.

Naturally, Apple’s purchase will allow an eventual independence from its third-party suppliers. In the future, Apple might make its own 5G chips in-house rather than relying on Qualcomm. Right now, a 5G-capable iPhone is still in the works. Apple is eyeing a potential 2020 release date.

SEE ALSO: Apple might bring back the old-school rainbow logo this year

Enterprise

US drops charges against Huawei heir Meng Wanzhou

Allowed to return to China

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Huawei MateBook D 15

Is the Huawei saga finally reaching its conclusion? For years, the American government has hounded the Chinese company for its ties to its respective country’s government. The administration then issued several bans, forcing Huawei to either find alternatives or give up its business. To the company’s dismay, Huawei has already suffered intensive damage. Now, amid their victory, the United States is throwing the company a bone by dropping its charges against Huawei heir Meng Wanzhou.

Back in 2018, Canadian authorities arrested the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng, who is also Huawei’s chief finance officer, was indicted with charges related to an illegal trade deal in Iran. Since then, the company’s heir found herself stuck in a limbo between house arrest and potential extradition to the United States.

Her chapter in the ongoing Huawei struggle is apparently over. In the United States, Meng pleaded not guilty to the government’s charges and agreed to take responsibility for her role in the deal. For their part, the government has dropped the charges in an apparent agreement with the CFO. Meng was allowed to return home to China.

Though Meng Wanzhou is off the leash, Huawei still has an uphill battle because of the said deal. Further, the company is still fighting against bans from the American government. Huawei has already fallen off the ranks in terms of success in the smartphone realm.

SEE ALSO: Huawei wants to help scale-up startups in Asia Pacific

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Xiaomi blacklists “Samsung” and other terms from its phones

But there’s a reason why

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Throughout the past few years, Chinese smartphones have received a lot of flak for its ties to geopolitical issues. Both Huawei and ZTE have already suffered through bans from the American government. Naturally, Xiaomi is in a similar boat. Unfortunately, because of a new research report, things might get worse before they get better.

According to a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre in Lithuania, Xiaomi’s smartphones automatically download a list of terms that they blacklist. The list includes sketchy terms like “China,” “Taiwan Solidarity Union,” and other geopolitical terms. Obviously, including China-related terms can cause a bit of alarm for users elsewhere. However, the blacklist might have uses outside of the obvious.

Spotted by XDA Developers, Xiaomi uses the list for advertising purposes. Besides the China-related terms, the list also includes its brand rivals like “Samsung” and “ZTE.” It also includes pornography and piracy terms. Most ironically, the list also blocks its own smartphone models. The publication spotted that the blacklist is used solely by the smartphone’s advertising platform. Which does make sense now.

The list is designed to block out ads from competing companies and its own (which makes sense since someone who owns a Xiaomi phone probably doesn’t need to see a Xiaomi ad anymore). Blocking pornographic and piracy-supporting ads also makes sense. The China-related terms remain problematic, but there is no indication that Xiaomi uses the list for anything other than advertising.

Further, Xiaomi should activate the filter manually. The automatic download doesn’t automatically mean that the phone is censored. That said, there is still a possibility that Xiaomi can use the filter for more geopolitical reasons. At the very least, current reports don’t point toward that for now.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T series focuses on mobile filmmaking

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Apple might be forced to ditch Lightning cables for USB-C

New EU ruling wants a universal standard

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Apple’s Lightning cable remains one of the most divisive aspects in the debate between Android versus Apple. A respectable number of Android users refuse to switch simply because Apple keeps its ecosystem locked under its own hardware like the cable. And, of course, who doesn’t empathize with users looking to borrow a charger from a friend only to find out that they use Lightning or USB-C cables? Fret not; a new ruling might force Apple to ditch their Lightning cables.

The European Commission has issued a new ruling proposal to fight against “consumer frustration and e-waste.” The biggest suggestion proposes that all devices should abide by a universal standard: USB-C. Obviously, the brand most affected by such a proposal is Apple. For years, the brand has stood behind exclusive ports, while others have already adopted the more universal USB-C standard.

It’s not a complete loss for the iPhone maker, though. Another proposal wants to unbundle the free chargers in every new smartphone box. Last year, Apple already made the controversial decision to stop including free chargers in new iPhone boxes. Other brands have slowly followed suit. If passed, other brands will have to follow in Apple’s footsteps as well.

Besides those two, the proposal also wants to prevent charging limitations. Tech makers must not limit their charging speeds, regardless of device or charger. Additionally, brands must be more transparent about their charger’s specs in order to properly inform consumers about buying decisions.

As of now, the proposal hasn’t been approved for the entire region yet. Once it has, the region will implement a 24-month transitionary period for brands. Even then, there’s still a chance that the ruling might not make it to other regions. Either way, it’s a good start towards a more universal standard outside of the Lightning cable.

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 6 series will not have a free charger

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