Intel Halts 5G Modem Development After Losing Orders for 2020 iPhones

Intel Sunny Peak

If Apple has dumped Intel as its 5G modem supplier, recent reports claim MediaTek could be in the running for Apple's 2020 business. "Upholding the Qualcomm request to prevent Apple from importing iPhones that use Intel modem technology, rather than those that integrate Qualcomm modems, would force Intel to reevaluate or drop its plans for developing the next generation of wireless technologies".

The 2020 iPhone won't be using Intel's 5G modem, new reports suggest, with Apple dealing a supplier blow to the chip-maker in the midst of its market-share grab from rival Qualcomm.

However, Qualcomm is embroiled in a high-profile patent battle with Apple that has clearly soured the companies' relationship. It looked like Apple wanted to source iPhone 5G chips from anyone but Qualcomm, and since Intel provides a portion of the LTE chips in the last two iPhone versions, the giant chipmaker seemed like the obvious choice. Due to the loss of a key business client, Intel has now redirected its team working on the modem to work on other projects. The execs also stated in those leaked communications that Apple is facing "a massive effort" to launch 5G in their mobile products, and they speculated that Apple's decision not to use Intel parts was a result of "many factors". This includes adding in a new Wi-Fi standard, WiGig (802.11ad) which brought about "new and unanticipated challenges".

Naturally, we don't expect any confirmation from either company on this rumor. The company may have to wait a few more years until smartphone vendors start taking its mobile chips seriously.

Apple has planned to abandon the deployment of Intel radio chips in its 2020 iPhone models.

The iPhone maker might be taking a different strategy over on the modem front. Sunny Peak was a combined 5G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth device and the same documents claim Intel will attempt to rework Sunny Peak for inclusion with Apple's 2022 device family.

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