Apple has always been in a bit of a conflicted situation, because its greatest suppliers are oftentimes always its greatest competition. The most obvious example would be the company’s relationship with Samsung. Another sticky situation is the one involving Qualcomm, which whom Apple is currently undergoing a dispute over patent infringement. So, Apple wants to bring its orders elsewhere and it looks like MediaTek will be the one picking up the slack.

This is a bit of a curious move, on some level, because Apple has generally positioned its iPhone as a top-tier kind of device, especially at the flagship level with something like the iPhone X. Conversely, MediaTek chips are generally regarded as “more affordable” than the alternatives you might find from a company like Qualcomm.

Does this mean that Apple is moving down market with the iPhone? Not exactly. To be clear, the shifting of the order doesn’t appear to be for the processor, so we likely won’t have a Helio-powered iPhone any time soon. Instead, it looks like Apple is turning to MediaTek to supply baseband modem chipsets for 2018.

The most recent report shows that Apple has already transferred some 50 percent of its orders for baseband modem chipsets from Qualcomm, requesting these chips from Intel instead. And even then, Intel might have the capacity to make up the rest of what Apple will need and that’s where MediaTek enters the picture.

MediaTek not only has the capacity and technology to pick up the rest of the slack, but its products are generally less expensive than the equivalents from competitors. Apple can get a good deal, especially with the kind of bulk they’d require, and they can move away from Qualcomm. MediaTek has declined to comment at this time.

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