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Intel ‘halts production’ of 5G modems following Apple’s 2020 iPhone snub

APPLE HAS REPORTEDLY notified Intel that it won’t be using the firm’s 5G modems in its 2020 mobile devices, forcing the chipmaker to halt production. 

That’s according to a report from Israeli website Calcalistwhich claims to have reviewed internal communications from Intel and spoken to “people familiar with the matter”. 

In the leaked comms, Intel execs say that, as a result of Apple’s plans not to use its chips for its 2020 iDevice lineup, the company has stopped development of its 5G modem – codenamed Sunny Peak – given that Apple was expected to be the “main volume driver” for the chip.

Intel executives blaming the Apple’s decision on “many factors”, including the introduction of a faster WiGig (802.11ad) Wi-Fi standard, which brought “new and unanticipated challenges”. 

The team working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said. However, the chipmaker hasn’t given up hope of winning further Apple business and said it’ll look to develop a better 5G modem to potentially feature in the company’s 2022 lineup. 

It remains unclear who will supply Apple with 5G modems for its 2020 devices, but we’d put our money on it not being Qualcomm.

According to recent reports, ongoing legal friction between Apple and Qualcomm has seen Intel score 70 per cent of LTE chip orders for the firm’s 2018 iPhone lineup. Despite the friction between the two firms, Qualcomm will reportedly provide the remainder of the chips. 

MediaTek could be in the running for Apple’s 2020 business, as it was reported a few days ago that the Taiwanese chipmaker – who is reportedly supplying custom WiFi chips for the HomePod speaker – will 5G modems on sale next year and it is apparently positioning itself to get them shoved into iPhones. 

Or, of course, Apple could develop its own modem chips. Such a move wouldn’t be surprising, as Bloomberg reported recently that 
Apple is also moving away from Intel chips in its Mac lineup in favour of its own custom ARM-based chips.

The first ARM-powered Macs are expected to show up in 2020, with Apple’s next-gen MacBook Pros set to arrive packing Intel’s Coffee Lake CPUs. µ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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