|There's gotta be more than one reason to spend a billion dollars. In a future LTE-only world mmWave isn't enough.|
AAPL has a contract for 6 years until 2/3G sunsets worldwide to buy QCOM modems.
Then in the future LTE-only world 'Something_New' happens. Part of what happens is a radically simplified modem.
Say Hello to HUBS
Just like router hubs connect multiple devices, these hubs also connect your IoT but incorporate several radio technologies: WiFi and Bluetooth of course. Z-Wave and Zigby and Semtech and other LoRAN like Sigfox.
We already know AAPL is moving strong into medical devices.
It makes sense they acquire a strong design team to support their expansion.
But the world of IoT is said to become many billions of devices, and designs are consolidating so these devices can achieve low cost through scale.
QCOM SoCs already incorporate multi-RAN hubs.
Is AAPL going head-to-head with QCOM? NO. Well , I don't expect so. At lest not in smartphones and mobile computing of other brands . I expect they have negotiated using in-house tech for their own brands free of litigation. In an LTE-only world of HUBS this makes sense because QCOM doesn't control it all.
While the obvious addition of RAN to a future A## APU makes sense, I expect the CFO guys want more rreasons to project justification and ROI.
That's where IoT becoming billions of devices and SCALE economics enters.
IoT is trying to consolidate designs to achieve SCALE. I expect there is an industry-wide conversation about this, and concessions to secede or not trespass segments so that SCALE economics and SCALE C3 can be achieved. E.g. security cameras are an example of a single company becoming a global commodity.
We already know INTC isn't quitting IoT like its very VERY successful M.2 modem solutions which is a segment they 'own'. Expect XMM to continue in CPE and MiFi-type 'pucks' too.
We just don't know how IP and product collaboration is planned. I expect a license-back deal.
My interpretation of these last eight years is that INTC has found it can't find the correct partners to support future low-power, low-energetics for tight packaging and long-duration devices. That's what years and years of hardball have earned for itself: enmity.
AAPL wants to control its own destiny and needs the IP INTC couldn't license for itself and share via XMM.