Apple is “engaged” in talks with Intel over the development of next-generation 5G modem for future iPhones. In comparison, Apple engineers have had “limited” talks with engineers from Qualcomm about the development of 5G modem.
The report from Fast Company details that Apple is heavily leaning towards the use of Intel’s 5G baseband in future iPhones. This is because engineers at the Cupertino company believe Intel’s 5G modem will better fit their requirements for future iPhones. In comparison, Qualcomm’s 5G modem has more carrier specialised features which many believe will not be adopted by carriers with 5G.
Incidentally, Intel today announced that it has successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call via its own 5G modem which is a “key milestone in its development.” The chip maker has thousands of engineers working on its 5G modem with their main objective being securing a win to supply 5G modem for future iPhones.
Apple is currently engaged in a billion-dollar legal battle against Qualcomm over its unfair business practices. The company has even gotten its supply chain partners to stop paying royalties to Qualcomm so as to mount pressure on it. It is due to this strained relationship that Apple is working closely with Intel as it wants to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm.
As for Intel, it is desperate to make headway into the smartphone market after multiple failed attempts which is why it is ready to customise its chips according to Apple’s requirements. Both companies are working together to create a SoC which features an integrated Intel modem. It would be co-designed by Apple and Intel and would be fabricated at the latter’s facility.
An iPhone with a 5G modem would be capable of offering gigabit download speeds and lower latency among a host of other improvements. However, the path to 5G is still very rocky and requires a lot of R&D and investment from carriers and smartphones makers. Even at best, we are still a couple of years away from seeing 5G smartphones and network go live in a major market.[Via Fast Company]