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Apple and Qualcomm’s already ugly legal dispute could turn even uglier in the coming months, despite the latter’s assurance that the two tech titans maintain a “strong” and “broad” relationship.

That may be partially true at the moment, as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus seemingly follow the 7 and 7 Plus suit with Intel inside in certain variants and regions, while others still get industry-leading Qualcomm LTE modems.

But if “people familiar with the matter” quoted by The Wall Street Journal are right, next year’s iPhones and iPads could snub the San Diego-based chipmaker’s components altogether, using cellular modems from Santa Clara’s Intel and “possibly” Taiwan’s MediaTek instead.

A final decision hasn’t been made yet, and Cupertino may have eight more months or so to choose the right course for up to three “all-screen” iPhone X sequels with Face ID functionality.

Then again, Apple might be on a significantly tighter schedule when it comes to next-gen iPads, as the latest 9.7-inch model will turn one in the spring.

Since the world’s second largest smartphone vendor typically likes to be prepared for any and all supply scenarios, Intel could be asked to ramp up modem chip manufacturing just in case. Interestingly, sources say Qualcomm was basically the one that forced a prospective shift in Apple strategy, withholding software “critical to testing its chips in iPhone and iPad prototypes.”

That may have been a ploy seeking a swift out-of-court settlement of intensifying legal battles, though the semiconductor giant continues to claim it’s entirely “committed to supporting Apple’s new devices”, allowing its partner to already “fully test” the modem that “could be used in the next generation iPhone.”

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