Apple won't use Intel's 5G modem in future iPhones [u]

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2018
Intel will not be supplying Apple with radio chips in a future iPhone release, a report claims, with the chip producer said to have stopped development of parts that would have enabled 5G cellular communications on an upcoming version of Apple's smartphone.




Apple has reportedly notified Intel of its decision to not use its modem in a next-generation iPhone model, internal Intel communications and sources familiar with the matter advised to CTech. It is believed the decision affects iPhones that will launch in 2020, and not those destined for the 2019 refresh.

Intel had been working on a chipset called "Sunny Peak," combining a 5G modem with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, which Intel was producing with Apple in mind. Company executives were apparently anticipating Apple would be the "main volume driver" for the part, but following Apple's notification, Intel has redirected the team's focus to other 5G-related projects.

Despite not gaining approval for Sunny Peak, Intel's executives believe the chip producer can still improve the component, potentially for Apple devices launching in 2022.

It is unclear why Apple opted not to use Sunny Peak, but the internal documents speculate it was the result of "many factors." The introduction of the WiGig Wi-Fi standard, which would have formed part of Sunny Peak, is said by executives to bring "new and unanticipated challenges" to mobile devices, and could have contributed to its downfall.

While the report concerns the Sunny Peak project, it does not necessarily indicate Intel is being cut out of the supply chain completely. Intel is currently providing modems to Apple alongside Qualcomm, but reports suggest Apple is altering the split of supply to 70:30 in favor of Intel for the 2018 fall refresh, with a view to moving away from Qualcomm modems completely by 2019.

As Apple is in an ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm over royalties, there are relatively few alternate options for Apple to move towards if it intends to support 5G in its future iPhones, aside from Intel. One option could be MediaTek, which recently unveiled a new 5G modem chipset and is said to be trying to supply Wi-Fi chips for the HomePod as a stepping stone towards becoming an iPhone modem source.

Update: "Intel's 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020," Intel advises in a statement provided to AppleInsider. "We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects."
Alex1N
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,710member
    Maybe Apple has its own chip design.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    A victim of Intel's 10nm process woes?
    ksec
  • Reply 3 of 26
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,802member
    entropys said:
    Maybe Apple has its own chip design.
    entropys said:
    Maybe Apple has its own chip design.
    Possibly.   However there are likely dozens of possible factors.  
    mike1
  • Reply 4 of 26
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 230member
    I wonder why Apple wouldn’t integrate modem right in their powerful A chip? Android friends have been enjoying these benefits for a while now. I believe Intel foundry is not up to speed on making things smaller and more energy efficient? Even Qualcomm chips have been producing 10 nanometer chips for a while now. 
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,858member
    Apple is designing their own wireless chips (they already design their own WiFi and Bluetooth radios). That's one reason why their suing Qualcomm, to get IP licensing fees down to a reasonable level.
    entropys
  • Reply 6 of 26
    tshapitshapi Posts: 292member
    I don’t think Apple would design its own chipset for a 5g modem until after its gas market traction. It’s not a mature technology. Apple design technology around mature technology.  For the A chip they took arm designs and made there own. For graphics they probably worked off the chipset that was already in the iPhone/iPad and just made there own variation.  

    I read there goal was to fix as much into the housing of the CPU as possible to create a more battery efficient device.  
    netmage
  • Reply 7 of 26
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,140member
    The Intel portion of this rumor seems to be absolute but there is nothing solid about the communication chip    has chosen to replace Intel. I call FUD until I’m proven wrong. 
  • Reply 8 of 26
    GG1GG1 Posts: 256member
    mjtomlin said:
    Apple is designing their own wireless chips (they already design their own WiFi and Bluetooth radios). That's one reason why their suing Qualcomm, to get IP licensing fees down to a reasonable level.
    The wireless chip is the next to fall (to Apple's in-house design), excluding the use of Qualcomm chips for Verizon phones (for legacy CDMA).

    What if Apple dropped their suit with Qualcomm only to settle with a license from Qualcomm to develop legacy CDMA in Apple's own wireless chip? BOOM! (I don't see Qualcomm doing this unless Qualcomm believe they will lose the suit.)

  • Reply 9 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,603member
    Mmmm. YAUR (Yay! Another Unsubstantiated Rumour). 

    Can’t understand why anyone would make up something like this with Apple set to announce quarterly figures in the next few weeks. 

    🤔




    SwampwulfAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Mmmm. YAUR (Yay! Another Unsubstantiated Rumour). 

    Can’t understand why anyone would make up something like this with Apple set to announce quarterly figures in the next few weeks. 

    ߤ䦬t;br>



    You believe it was all made up, or that there's no way it would be made up with quarterly's around the corner? Not 100% clear what you meant.
    https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3741719,00.html
    A key statement: "according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist"

    Now why would Calcalist, an Israeli tech site, have any inside knowledge and be provided Intel internal company docs? Much of the Sunny Peak development took place in 
    Israel, obviously using Israeli engineers. 

    BTW, a little further clarification from the source:
    "Sunny Peak," whose name was first disclosed, will have to be refreshed so Apple can re-integrate it into its products. If they are used again, this will only happen in 2022." The component was being designed especially for Apple and Apple alone apparently.


    edited July 2018 Alex1Njony0
  • Reply 11 of 26
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Mmmm. YAUR (Yay! Another Unsubstantiated Rumour). 

    Can’t understand why anyone would make up something like this with Apple set to announce quarterly figures in the next few weeks. 

    ߤ䦬t;br>



    You believe it was all made up, or that there's no way it would be made up with quarterly's around the corner? Not 100% clear what you meant.
    https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3741719,00.html
    A key statement: "according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist"

    Now why would Calcalist, an Israeli tech site, have any inside knowledge and be provided Intel internal company docs? Much of the Sunny Peak development took place in 
    Israel, obviously using Israeli engineers. 

    BTW, a little further clarification from the source:
    "Sunny Peak," whose name was first disclosed, will have to be refreshed so Apple can re-integrate it into its products. If they are used again, this will only happen in 2022." The component was being designed especially for Apple and Apple alone apparently.


    It actually makes a lot of sense. Intel has been having a lot of bad news lately. Some news about it having all modem supply for iPhone would definitely pop it up. Intel does have a big office in Israel.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,920member
    It could be that this just means Apple doesn't intend to start supporting 5G in 2020. 

    I'm no expert, but 5G sounds really weird to me for use in a phone. I've read that you basically need line of sight in order for it to work. If anything --- *anything* -- solid comes between your phone and the "tower" (probably not really a tower), then you either lose the signal or it's degraded to the point that you might as well have just stuck with LTE. 


    Alex1N
  • Reply 13 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    blastdoor said:
    It could be that this just means Apple doesn't intend to start supporting 5G in 2020. 

    I'm no expert, but 5G sounds really weird to me for use in a phone. I've read that you basically need line of sight in order for it to work. If anything --- *anything* -- solid comes between your phone and the "tower" (probably not really a tower), then you either lose the signal or it's degraded to the point that you might as well have just stuck with LTE. 


    "Fixed wireless broadband service based on 5G technology will not require line of sight between the transmitter and receiver, said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam today. Advances in antenna and processing technology have essentially eliminated the need for fixed 5G line of sight, he explained in a question-and-answer session at a financial conference, where he also provided additional detail about Verizon network densification plans to support 5G and other offerings."

    There's also an easy-to-understand tutorial about the whole 5G thing, what it is, what it's for, where you'll find it, and how soon here:
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/what-is-5g/
    edited July 2018 repressthisAlex1N
  • Reply 14 of 26
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,959member
    When Intel has put lots of resources into 4G LTE/5G modem development for Apple main and others, than its hard Intel would give up that business. Until Apple announce not using Intel 5G chip in future, nothing is for sure
  • Reply 15 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    wood1208 said:
    When Intel has put lots of resources into 4G LTE/5G modem development for Apple main and others, than its hard Intel would give up that business. Until Apple announce not using Intel 5G chip in future, nothing is for sure
    The story isn't about Intel abandoning all 5G radio chip development, which they don't claim (AFAICT). It's about a specific chip they were developing for Apple's iPhones being abandoned for  the time being. 
    repressthisAlex1N
  • Reply 16 of 26
    GG1GG1 Posts: 256member
    gatorguy said:
    blastdoor said:
    It could be that this just means Apple doesn't intend to start supporting 5G in 2020. 

    I'm no expert, but 5G sounds really weird to me for use in a phone. I've read that you basically need line of sight in order for it to work. If anything --- *anything* -- solid comes between your phone and the "tower" (probably not really a tower), then you either lose the signal or it's degraded to the point that you might as well have just stuck with LTE. 


    "Fixed wireless broadband service based on 5G technology will not require line of sight between the transmitter and receiver, said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam today. Advances in antenna and processing technology have essentially eliminated the need for fixed 5G line of sight, he explained in a question-and-answer session at a financial conference, where he also provided additional detail about Verizon network densification plans to support 5G and other offerings."

    There's also an easy-to-understand tutorial about the whole 5G thing, what it is, what it's for, where you'll find it, and how soon here:
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/what-is-5g/
    See this link for a bit more 5G technical details: https://www.cio.com/article/3226451/networking/5g-a-few-frequency-facts.html

    And worldwide 5G frequency allocations (up to 71 GHz !): http://https//www.everythingrf.com/community/5g-frequency-bands
    Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 26
    ksecksec Posts: 1,560member
    hattig said:
    A victim of Intel's 10nm process woes?
    Precisely. 

    The design for Intel 5G modem was suppose to be done on Intel 10nm. And now it is not going to make it in volume for their next iPhone. That is likely to be the same for Intel's next 4G Modem, the XMM7660, designed for 10nm and not available for Apple next year.

    I think relationship between Apple and Intel may have turned sour. And Apple got fed up with Intel not delivery ( On Mac and on iPhone ).

    And half of 2018 gone, still no opening of Thunderbolt yet from Intel.

    And what is WiGig? That is like a disbanded org since 2011 or 2013? It is now 802.11ad, and I suppose it has nothing got to do with Apple calling off because it is pure garbage spec. It is very likely any development now would be 802.11ay, the successor of 802.11ad, trying to fix and get a properly 60Ghz wireless working. It is still in draft stage and I hope they get it right this time.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    GG1GG1 Posts: 256member
    ksec said:
    hattig said:
    A victim of Intel's 10nm process woes?
    Precisely. 

    The design for Intel 5G modem was suppose to be done on Intel 10nm. And now it is not going to make it in volume for their next iPhone. That is likely to be the same for Intel's next 4G Modem, the XMM7660, designed for 10nm and not available for Apple next year.

    I think relationship between Apple and Intel may have turned sour. And Apple got fed up with Intel not delivery ( On Mac and on iPhone ).

    And half of 2018 gone, still no opening of Thunderbolt yet from Intel.

    And what is WiGig? That is like a disbanded org since 2011 or 2013? It is now 802.11ad, and I suppose it has nothing got to do with Apple calling off because it is pure garbage spec. It is very likely any development now would be 802.11ay, the successor of 802.11ad, trying to fix and get a properly 60Ghz wireless working. It is still in draft stage and I hope they get it right this time.
    So Mediatek's 5G modem chip M70 on TSMC's 7nm process will take Intel's orders, I presume? TSMC is hitting on all cylinders.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,740member
    mjtomlin said:
    Apple is designing their own wireless chips (they already design their own WiFi and Bluetooth radios). That's one reason why their suing Qualcomm, to get IP licensing fees down to a reasonable level.
    I expect that we will soon have an announcement of a settlement between Apple and Qualcomm.   I imagine that Apple accepted Qualcomm’s new licensing terms and Cook wisely decided to dump intels second rate modems.   Apple has had too many special programs (battery replacement and now keyboard replacement) to risk problems with the Intel modems.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 20 of 26
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 701editor
    sergioz said:
    I wonder why Apple wouldn’t integrate modem right in their powerful A chip? Android friends have been enjoying these benefits for a while now. I believe Intel foundry is not up to speed on making things smaller and more energy efficient? Even Qualcomm chips have been producing 10 nanometer chips for a while now. 
    Could you list some of the processors that have wireless cellular radios integrated into them? 
    Alex1N
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