Intel Halts 5G Modem Development After Losing Orders for 2020 iPhones

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. The report from CTech by Calcalist claims to have seen internal communications between the two companies and cites people familiar with the matter.

The internal communication reveals that Apple was going to be the “main volume driver” of Intel’s “Sunny Peak” 5G mobile modem. Due to the loss of a key business client, Intel has now redirected its team working on the modem to work on other projects.

In the communications reviewed, Intel executives described Apple as the “key mobile customer” for the developed 5G mobile modem. Intel expected Apple to be the “main volume driver” for the product, they said.

As per the documents, the “Sunny Peak” 5G modem from Intel combines a 5G baseband, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth into one.

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.” This includes adding in a new Wi-Fi standard, WiGig (802.11ad) which brought about “new and unanticipated challenges.”

Despite losing orders for the 2020 iPhones, Intel is focusing on winning back modem orders for the 2022 iPhone from Apple.

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.

The report does not state if Apple will be sourcing its 5G modem for the 2020 iPhones from Qualcomm or not. Both companies are involved in a major legal battle and Apple has been looking to reduce its reliance on the San Diego chip maker. Apple has been designing the majority of its chips inside iPhones on its own, and it is possible that the company is possibly looking at designing and building its own 5G modem for future iPhones.

[Via CTech]