September 24, 2018

Apple reportedly drops Intel 5G chip from 2020 device lineup

06 July 2018, 05:29 | Casey Mitchell

Intel denies its halting production of 5G modems following Apple snub

Intel denies its halting production of 5G modems following Apple snub

Apple has notified Intel that it won't be requiring its 5G Sunny Peak modem for the 2020 roster of iPhones. For Intel, the news apparently isn't just a blow to future sales of the chip, it resulted in development of Sunny Peak being halted and the engineering team disbanded, with each member assigned to another project.

According to TF International Securities' well-sourced analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), Apple is considering five colors for its upcoming iPhone 9: gray, white, blue, red, and orange. A research memo published by Northland Securities Inc. last month posited that Apple may replace Intel's chips with hardware from Taiwanese rival MediaTek Inc. rather than make its own. According to Calcalis, Apple has informed the chip firm that the 2020 iPhone won't be using Intel 5G modems.

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Using a new Wi-Fi standard known as WiGig (802.11ad) in "any mobile product brings new and unanticipated challenges", the communications said. 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. 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. Reports earlier this year suggested Apple was looking to shift its MacBook range from Intel's x86 processors to ARM-based chipsets of its own design, extending the expertise it has developed in making custom silicon for iPhone and iPad.

Intel has only been supplying its modem to Apple so far so it is understandable that the company is adjusting its future product roadmap accordingly.

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As we await what Apple has in store for its 2018 iPhones, the company is already deep into planning its strategy for 2020 and the advent of 5G.

An in-house 5G chip, created with Apple's own technology, could possibly help Apple with its feud with Qualcomm, in which Apple is suing Qualcomm over what Apple claims is exorbitant royalty fees.

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