Apple, Intel engineers reportedly tightly engaged to produce 5G modem for future iPhone

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in iPhone
Apple may completely ditch Qualcomm for a 5G modem in the future, with a new report claiming that iPhone engineers are working closely with Intel to deliver gigabit per second wireless speeds.




A new account published by Fast Company on Thursday evening claims that Apple staff are "engaged with Intel counterparts" for work on a 5G modem for a future iPhone. If the report is accurate, Intel may completely unseat Qualcomm's dominance in supplying Apple since 2011.

Sources familiar with the matter told Fast Company that the goal of the Apple and Intel project is to build an Intel modem into a system-on-a-chip that contains Apple's A-series processor, the GPU, and some other iPhone components -- with it all fabricated at an Intel facility.

Also on Thursday, Intel declared that it has completed a 5G call over the 28Ghz band with early prototypes of a new modem chip that it announced during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Intel calls the test a "key milestone" in development of the new technology.

At present, Apple uses Intel modems for T-Mobile and AT&T network-compatible phones. Qualcomm-sourced parts are used for phones destined for Verizon and Sprint customers.

Intel's XMM 8060 chip for 5G networks will be available prior to broad deployment of 5G networks, which is expected in 2020.

In October, reports were circulating that Apple was considering building its flagship mobile devices without Qualcomm chipsets, instead opting for cellular modems manufactured by Intel and MediaTek. Apple's legal battles with Qualcomm over licensing terms for modem chips is likely at the heart of the shift.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    It seems to me that if Qualcomm negotiated a lower rate for Apple, as Apple had requested, Qualcomm would make more money than will be the case if they lose Apple as a client. 
    cornchipradarthekatmagman1979caliRacerhomieXgregg thurmanwatto_cobrarepressthisjony0
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Wondering if Apple can/does use these chips with computers too, as it would be awesome to be able to get 5G in a MacBook without tethering, aided by the Apple SIM 'virtual SIM' technology that's built into the latest iPads.
    netroxradarthekatcaliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 40
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,096member
    1 Gbps modem.... LOVE!
    caliwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 40
    "... Apple and Intel project is to build an Intel modem into a system-on-a-chip that contains Apple's A-series processor, the GPU, and some other iPhone components —with it all fabricated at an Intel facility." <--- this is such exciting news. I can't wait to see what they'll come up with!!! 
    magman1979caliRacerhomieXwatto_cobrarepressthisjony0
  • Reply 5 of 40
    Qualcomm! You bit the hand... so now you shall reap the reward!!!  g-bye!
    caliRacerhomieXwatto_cobrarepressthisjony0
  • Reply 6 of 40
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,040member
    Qualcomm can take the current chip shove in the ass! Long Intel-Apple relationship!
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 40
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Would love to see an Apple logo on that chip instead.

    What next Apple as a carrier?
    Mobile
    (I wish!)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 40
    TSMC may actually lose Apple as a client. 

    Intel might actually do what Otellini originally turned down, fabricate Apple’s mobile CPUs. 

    Perhaps Intel might regain its lead in fab technology again partnered up with Apple. 

    It’s going to be a devastating loss for TSMC. But Intel offers Apple the opportunity to integrate a modem into the SOC. 

    This was coming all along. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is going to fall further and further behind also. They are already getting killed in single core performance. 
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 9 of 40
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    TSMC may actually lose Apple as a client. 

    Intel might actually do what Otellini originally turned down, fabricate Apple’s mobile CPUs. 

    Perhaps Intel might regain its lead in fab technology again partnered up with Apple. 

    It’s going to be a devastating loss for TSMC. But Intel offers Apple the opportunity to integrate a modem into the SOC. 

    This was coming all along. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is going to fall further and further behind also. They are already getting killed in single core performance. 
    And bet if Apple is involved with modem development they’re gonna shrink the hell out of that thing. 
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 40
    snoblenet said:
    Wondering if Apple can/does use these chips with computers too, as it would be awesome to be able to get 5G in a MacBook without tethering, aided by the Apple SIM 'virtual SIM' technology that's built into the latest iPads.


    They had worked on something like this a while back. One of the prototypes got out in the wild, before Apple requested it back.

    I wonder if they'll revive it.


    RacerhomieXwatto_cobrarepressthis[Deleted User]
  • Reply 11 of 40
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,498member
    TSMC may actually lose Apple as a client. 

    Intel might actually do what Otellini originally turned down, fabricate Apple’s mobile CPUs. 

    Perhaps Intel might regain its lead in fab technology again partnered up with Apple. 

    It’s going to be a devastating loss for TSMC. But Intel offers Apple the opportunity to integrate a modem into the SOC. 

    This was coming all along. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is going to fall further and further behind also. They are already getting killed in single core performance. 
    I doubt that Apple will give up that relationship with TSMC, who have done everything that Apple has requested, year over year, to deliver a class dominating processor, and in extremely high volumes. For the near term, Intel may find more opportunity on the SOC rather than on the A series die.

    Still, there is that transitional area between the iPad Pro and the Mac Book that would be an ideal area for Apple and Intel to create an ARM desktop class processor, at 3x to 5x TDP of the A series, with or without x64.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 40
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,687member
    I wonder tight coupling is a reference to intels new Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect bridge?

    I'm sure Apple would love to be able push components closer together in almost all their devices.
    tmay
  • Reply 13 of 40
    netrox said:
    1 Gbps modem.... LOVE!
    Don’t get to excited, we’re still a couple years away from it being widely deployed. 
  • Reply 14 of 40
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member
    I dont think the Baseband will ever be part of the SoC for Apple.

    Judging by these information, my bet is that next year Intel will finally win 100% of the modem order from Apple.

    XMM7560 2018
    XMM7660 2019

    XMM 8 Series in 2020.
    repressthis
  • Reply 15 of 40
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,490member
    cali said:
    Would love to see an Apple logo on that chip instead.

    What next Apple as a carrier?
    Mobile
    (I wish!)

    Virgin Mobile is exclusively iPhone now - so they could be considered an “Apple” carrier.
    repressthis
  • Reply 16 of 40
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member
    tmay said:
    TSMC may actually lose Apple as a client. 

    Intel might actually do what Otellini originally turned down, fabricate Apple’s mobile CPUs. 

    Perhaps Intel might regain its lead in fab technology again partnered up with Apple. 

    It’s going to be a devastating loss for TSMC. But Intel offers Apple the opportunity to integrate a modem into the SOC. 

    This was coming all along. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is going to fall further and further behind also. They are already getting killed in single core performance. 
    I doubt that Apple will give up that relationship with TSMC, who have done everything that Apple has requested, year over year, to deliver a class dominating processor, and in extremely high volumes. For the near term, Intel may find more opportunity on the SOC rather than on the A series die.
    Business is Business....
    I doubt Apple cares how responsive and reliable TSMC has been "year over year" when there's an opportunity to make iPhones easier to assemble, potentially more compact, and putting Apple more firmly in the driver's seat in controlling both supply and profit. Partnerships go only so far. At the end of the day it comes down to money as it always does. 

    If I were TSMC I'd be reviewing the business plan for "after Apple", as I'd expect any responsible company to do. 
    edited November 2017 repressthis
  • Reply 17 of 40
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,583member
    Time has come when Apple can have CPU/GPU/MODEM/WIFI/BT into SOC. Qualcomm is toast. Intel Introduces Portfolio of Commercial 5G New Radio Modems. Intel XMM 7660 latest LTE modem delivers Cat-19 capabilities and supports speeds up to 1.6 gigabits per second.Intel XMM 8060 first commercial 5G modem is capable of delivering multi-mode support for the full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as various 2G, 3G (including CDMA) and 4G legacy modes.
    edited November 2017 repressthis
  • Reply 18 of 40
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,731member
    Yep!   Lot's of ramifications here -- especially for Qualcomm and TSMC.

    But also for Intel:   For years they've tried to develop a competitor to the ARM based chip -- and failed.  Now Apple's A10 and A11 are threatening to eat Intel's bread and butter chip, the I5, alive.   The Apple chips can now match it in power...

    So, has Intel given up the fight to make its dinosaur x86 based chip competitive in today's world?
    Are they destined to become a mere fabricator for Apple?
    All kinds of possibilities here...
    repressthis
  • Reply 19 of 40
    I doubt that Apple will give up that relationship with TSMC, who have done everything that Apple has requested, year over year, to deliver a class dominating processor, and in extremely high volumes. For the near term, Intel may find more opportunity on the SOC rather than on the A series die.

    Still, there is that transitional area between the iPad Pro and the Mac Book that would be an ideal area for Apple and Intel to create an ARM desktop class processor, at 3x to 5x TDP of the A series, with or without x64.
    Not certain Apple has much of a choice. Intel wants Apple’s business exclusively and Otellini himself regretted turning Jobs down for the opportunity to build the original iPhone SOC. 

    Intel offers Apple something no other company outside of Qualcomm can. A chance to integrate a state of the art modem into the SOC. Qualcomm of course won’t allow Apple to do so, but Intel is willing. However, the cost will consist of getting Apple’s business in fabricating the entire SOC. 

    Intel isn’t exactly a slouch in fabrication technology. Though TSMC, Samsung and even Global Foundries have essentially caught up, Intel hasn’t exactly fallen behind. Apple has little to lose and much more to gain in switching to Intel from TSMC. Doing so will bring additional advantages that Qualcomm will have difficulty competing with. An Apple/Intel modem partnership will be awfully difficult to compete against over the long term even for a company such as Qualcomm. 

    Qualcomm already has plans on moving back to TSMC from Samsung anyway so the loss of Apple shouldn’t sting TSMC too badly. Besides TSMC will build CPUs for anyone while Intel offers far more exclusivity for Apple. I just don’t see TSMC as a long term Apple partner. They only got Apple’s business in the first place because of the row with Samsung. 

    By the way a laptop class A series processor with 3x the TDP of the current designs built in conjunction with Intel would utterly dominate in performance. Add x64 capability and even Microsoft’s surface line of machines would be toast. I would love to see such a development but it’s unlikely. Apple seems focused on keeping the TDP of their current designs unchanged but continually wringing out additional performance. If the upcoming A11X performs at core i7 levels, there’s little reason to devote additional resources to building another class of CPU. Apple has billions in the bank. They could easily do it. It just seems that it would be more of a distraction than anything else. Apple’s main focus is the iPhone and its CPU. The watch is starting to share the limelight and the tablets are tagging along. While Apple remains dedicated to their legacy laptop and desktop platforms, the level of focus and effort is just not the same. Hence an A series CPU for a dedicated laptop line
    seems far fetched. 
    repressthis
  • Reply 20 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,122member
    tmay said:
    TSMC may actually lose Apple as a client. 

    Intel might actually do what Otellini originally turned down, fabricate Apple’s mobile CPUs. 

    Perhaps Intel might regain its lead in fab technology again partnered up with Apple. 

    It’s going to be a devastating loss for TSMC. But Intel offers Apple the opportunity to integrate a modem into the SOC. 

    This was coming all along. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is going to fall further and further behind also. They are already getting killed in single core performance. 
    I doubt that Apple will give up that relationship with TSMC, who have done everything that Apple has requested, year over year, to deliver a class dominating processor, and in extremely high volumes. For the near term, Intel may find more opportunity on the SOC rather than on the A series die.

    Still, there is that transitional area between the iPad Pro and the Mac Book that would be an ideal area for Apple and Intel to create an ARM desktop class processor, at 3x to 5x TDP of the A series, with or without x64.
    Oh, I don’t know. I’ve been saying that this could happen for some time now. One thing Apple really wants to do is to have that modem on the SoC die, the way Qualcomm does. But Qualcomm won’t let them. Having that saves space and power. Both of this are in short supply, particularly in the Watch, where I have no doubt this will also be used.

    nothing bad about TSMC, but this would be better for Apple, and that what Apple must be thinking about. So, it’s a good year to two years off, and we’ll see.
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