Apple Won't Use Intel 5G Modem for 2020 iPhone

Ruben Fields
July 6, 2018

The execs are said to have blamed Apple's decision on "many factors" including the introduction of a faster WiGig (802.11ad) Wi-Fi standard, which brought "new and unanticipated challenges", adding that the team working on the Sunny Peak modem will be redirected to other efforts.

A separate report from Israeli publication CTech suggests that Apple is - for now - ending its plan to work with Intel on 5G modems. The chip, which is said to have been referred to internally as Sunny Peak, was reportedly meant to provide integrated 5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Intel executives described Apple as the "key mobile customer" for their 5G modem and the "main volume driver".

Apple's decision has caused Intel to halt development of the chip, internally called "Sunny Peak", CTech also reports.

That dream looks like it's on hold now, though. The latter is rumored to be supplying Apple with Wi-Fi chips for future HomePods and reportedly very close to displacing Intel as the secondary modem supplier for future iPhones.

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Despite losing orders for the 2020 iPhones, Intel is focusing on winning back modem orders for the 2022 iPhone from Apple.

Apple is reportedly developing its own modems (because of course it is) and exploring the possibility of using wireless chips made by MediaTek. It's true that Apple already develops its own chips on the iPhone but perhaps it wants to develop even more of its own hardware. The 5G chip is capable of transmitting data at up to 5Gbps, roughly on par with Intel's own 5G modems, which have theoretical peak peak data transfers of "over 5Gbps". If Apple were to make its own chip, it wouldn't need to buy chips from Qualcomm, as it now does for the majority of iPhones, but may still need to pay licensing fees depending on the result of the legal battle.

The new chip, the XMM 7560, is the first Intel modem chip that could hit 1 gigabit speeds, necessary for 5G. That's just really bad business.

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