News

Apple ditches Intel’s 5G modem chips for 2020 iPhones

Potentially looking at MediaTek for a replacement

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From Intel’s chips to Samsung’s screens, Apple has made a name for itself by using components from other brands. Unlike its competitors, Apple’s devices rely heavily on third-party sources.

Realizing their over-reliance on other brands, Apple is taking steps to more carefully source their devices. Recently, the company has reportedly sought other sources (like LG) for its iPhone screens.

Now, further reports hint that Apple is also done with Intel as a source for its devices’ modems.

Currently, Intel remains as Apple’s main source for LTE modems through 2019. In fact, by the end of their current contract, Intel will be providing 100 percent of Apple’s modems.

Apple’s change of heart falls on its batch of phones in 2020. By then, the company hopes to out its first 5G-compatible phone. Prior to today, Intel has already pledged their support to develop a 5G chip for Apple.

However, recent reports state that Apple is ditching Intel as a source for 5G modems. As such, Intel has also ceased its development of all 5G modems since Apple is (or was) its main customer.

Apple has not commented on the move yet. And yet, it coincides with Apple’s current push to reduce monopolies over their devices. With their over-reliance on Intel, the modem maker could potentially dictate high prices for components. Apple’s move ensures a more flexible plan going forward.

As for where Apple is going next, another source has pointed towards MediaTek as a potential source. The report poses an interesting option for Apple. As of now, MediaTek already has an announced 5G chip in the works, the Helio M70. If and when either company announces their partnership, this places Apple at the forefront of 5G technology, potentially launching a 5G-comaptible phone before anyone else.

Of course, much can still change before then. Apple could still source its chips from other companies such as Qualcomm (unlikely, considering their legal troubles). In fact, another option lies in developing 5G chips themselves.

Whatever happens, the future of 5G potentially hinges on Apple’s decision.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s cheaper 2018 iPhone X will come in a variety of colors

News

New leak reveals a much, much more expensive AirPods Pro

Costs as much as a midrange phone

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Recently, the rumor mill reignited discussions over an upcoming AirPods launch in the midrange segment. Supposedly, the mid-2020 device will sell for more than a pair of regular AirPods but less than a premium pair of AirPods Pro.

Surprisingly, the rumors are still going. This time, Target, the American superstore chain, has apparently readied its inventory system for an unannounced AirPods product, according to a leak from tech YouTuber Jon Prosser.

The product — named the Apple AirPods (X Generation) — will retail for a staggering US$ 399.99. For reference, the AirPods Pro sells for only $249.99. Given the heightened price, the AirPods (X Generation) is likely a pair of headphones worthy of the price, especially since the AirPods Pro is already the top-of-the-line product for earbuds.

According to a follow-up from Apple Insider, Target employees explained that reserving inventory slots for upcoming products, especially regarding pricing information. However, the official name will likely change on launch.

Additionally, Presser has also asked Apple for a potential launch date. According to another tweet, Apple is still undecided whether to hold an event in March.

Still, with a pair of wireless over-ear headphones, Apple will be ready to take on a market populated by its subsidiary brand Beats and competing brands like Bose, Sony, and JBL. We’re dreading the potential charging case, though.

SEE ALSO: Apple lets you personalize your AirPods case

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Enterprise

Samsung temporarily shuts down infected Galaxy Z Flip factory

Coronavirus strikes again

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The coronavirus epidemic is burning through the technology industry, leaving a trail of delays and shortages in its wake. So far, the virus has already torched Apple’s China-based manufacturers and the entire MWC 2020 event.

For the immediate future, the global epidemic can add Samsung to its list of victims. Previously, the South Korean company saved itself from the crisis, owing to its geographical roots. Unfortunately, if you turn into world news today, the virus has already made its way to South Korea.

In the city of Gumi, one of Samsung’s factory workers has contracted the disease, forcing the company to shut down the entire plant, according to a South Korean news outlet. The entire factory will open again on February 24. Additionally, the infected employee’s floor will remain shut down until February 25.

As for the workers themselves, Samsung has urged those who worked with the employee to put themselves in quarantine and undergo tests for potential infection. The company has also asked all employees to limit travel when possible, conducting business only through video calls.

Of course, Samsung has a tight hold on the South Korea business sector. The closure of just one factory probably won’t affect the company’s supply too much.

The affected Gumi factory specializes in Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip production. If anything, the temporary closure will only slow the foldable phone down partially. Regardless, it’s not a good look for Samsung, especially if the virus continues to spread across the country.

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Accessories

Apple is likely working on a midrange AirPods Pro

Coming mid-2020

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Have you bought into the wireless earbuds trend? Despite performing at a lesser capacity than wired earphones, wireless earbuds have infiltrated every major player in the tech industry. Currently, Apple, Huawei, and Samsung all sell their own variant of the growing market.

Now, Apple looks to expand their own catalog even further. According to Chinese publication Digitimes, the AirPods maker is developing a budget-friendly version of last year’s AirPods Pro — the AirPods Pro Lite.

Supposedly, Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), a Taiwan-based manufacturer will likely acquire orders from Apple for the upcoming device. The Taiwanese company is working with other manufacturers from China and the US to fulfill the orders.

According to the report, the AirPods Pro Lite will arrive sometime in the middle of the year. However, given the current situation in China, the device’s development might run into a few delays, especially if Apple pursues China-based manufacturers.

Because of the name, the AirPods Pro Lite will likely carry a price tag between the regular AirPods and the premium AirPods Pro. That puts it around US$ 199.

Despite being an accessory, the AirPods lineup is still one of Apple’s most successful products in the current generation. Of course, it helps that the audio accessory almost comes as a requirement for iPhone users.

SEE ALSO: Unboxing the Apple AirPods Pro

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