Apple's future iPhones won't use Intel's 5G modems

Friday, 06 Jul, 2018

Despite winning the majority of orders for Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup, the Cupertino company has informed Intel that it will not be using its 5G modem in its 2020 iPhone lineup.

According to "people familiar with the matter", Apple just took the decision not to use Intel's Sunny Peak in its 2020 devices.

It said further development of the modem, known internally as "Sunny Peak" had been halted and the staff involved would be directed to other efforts. However, even if the report is true, Intel's apparent loss won't necessarily be Qualcomm's gain.

Since, however, Intel has debunked the rumours and said it has no plans to halt production of its 5G modem chips.

Over the last few years, Intel's mobile communication business has enjoyed significantly higher visibility and revenue thanks to one major customer win in particular: Apple. 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.

According to the report, the executives considered Apple as the main "key mobile customer" for its 5G modem and expected Apple to be the "main volume driver" for the product. "We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects".

MediaTek revealed its first 5G modem, the Helio M70, at Computex in June.

Now that Apple has dropped out, it seems Intel sees no future for its Sunny Peak chip. Hardware manufacturers need to prepare, though, and decide which 5G chips will make it into their products.

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.

This is all after word broke in April that Apple was moving away from Intel by developing its own chips to use in its Mac PCs, too, to be used in its products by 2020.