Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Apple reportedly drops Intel 5G chip from 2020 device lineup

Intel puts new 5G modem on hold after Apple snub Apple dropping Intel as radio chip supplier, killing off the product – report
Cecil Davis | 06 July, 2018, 17:31

As a effect, Intel has reportedly halted production on that modem - code named Sunny Peak - because Apple was regarded as the primary volume buyer for the part. 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 described Apple as the "key mobile customer" for the developed 5G model, and Apple was expected to be the "main volume driver" for the chip.

An unnamed Intel executive reportedly said in the internal documents, "The introduction of a new speedy WiFi standard WiGig (802.11ad) "into any mobile product brings new and unanticipated challenges". It also said that Apple is facing a "massive effort" to launch 5G.

That dream looks like it's on hold now, though. Because it supports the notion that politics may have put Apple in a position to temporarily back-off supporting an Intel modem due to their war with Qualcomm.

Intel had hoped to secure a partnership with Apple to supply "Sunny Peak" chips for its 2020 iPhone lineup, but according to internal communications and "people familiar with the matter", Apple has chose to shop elsewhere.

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Who will make the 5G modem inside the iPhone?

It's not a bad thing if Intel were to exit making "baseband" modem chips altogether, he writes, and perhaps the recent departure of Brian Krzanich from the top spot will produce a new leader with "a better ear for our call to exit" that business. 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.

Although 5G chips in smartphones will be available in 2019, network adaptation is a bit slower, so large-scale rollout of gigabit speeds is expected in 2020. Apple is also reportedly planning to dump Intel's x86 chips in favor of its own custom-designed processors in at least some Macs sometime in the same year.

Apple was, and continues to be, the most critical smartphone maker to any component manufacturer, Intel included.

Still, there's been ongoing speculation for months about Apple pulling away from Intel.