Apple dropping Intel as radio chip supplier, killing off the product

Intel 5G Modem

Intel puts new 5G modem on hold after Apple snub

Citing people familiar with the development, the report claims that the chipmaker has halted the development of its Sunny Peak chip and redirected its engineers to work on other operations. According to a source, Intels development of a chip that combines modem, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is halted, and the employees have switched to other projects.

Apple was expected to employ Intel's 5G and Wi-Fi radios in its 2020 smartphones, based on communications within Intel recovered by CTech.

The report details that there is a "massive effort" inside Apple to launch 5G products and says that the company's decision to not use an Intel 5G modem was a cumulation of "many factors".

Apple has since turned to Intel for LTE chips for its 2019 models and Intel has just started mass production of an important new modem chip slated to be used in Apple's next, new iPhones, one of the company's vice presidents, Asha Keddy, told Japanese business news site last month, Nikkei Asian Review. From the iPhone 7 forward, Intel has provided some of the modems for Apple's devices, with Qualcomm handling the rest.

Apple is reportedly developing its own modems (because of course it is) and exploring the possibility of using wireless chips made by MediaTek.

The iPhone maker might be taking a different strategy over on the modem front.

The new chip, the XMM 7560, is the first Intel modem chip that could hit 1 gigabit speeds, necessary for 5G. 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. Securing a deal with the iPhone maker would strengthen Intel's market position amid the shift to 5G, a set of networking technologies now being implemented by major carriers. 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.

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