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Apple dropping Intel as radio chip supplier, killing off the product – report [U]

A new report claims Apple has notified Intel that it will not use the chipmaker’s radio chips in its 2020 iPhones. It goes on to say that as Apple was the primary customer for the combined 5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip, Intel has now halted development of the product and disbanded the team working on it …

CTech cites both multiple sources and internal documents.

Intel will not provide 5G modems for Apple’s 2020 mobile devices, according to internal company communications reviewed by Calcalist, and people familiar with the matter. Apple has notified Intel it would not use a mobile modem developed by the chipmaker in its next-generation mobile device, Intel executives said in the communications. Further development of the modem component internally called “Sunny Peak” has been halted and the Intel team that’s working on the product will be redirected to other efforts, the executives said.

Update: Intel has denied CTech’s claim that it has abandoned work on the product:

Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.

Apple historically used Qualcomm radio chips, but its long-running dispute with the company resulting in multiple lawsuits had the iPhone maker looking elsewhere. Intel is expected to supply the bulk of the chips for this year’s iPhones, though it’s believed that Apple will still have to rely on Qualcomm for part of its supply.

It was reported a few days ago that MediaTek was angling for Apple modem orders, possibly for 2020 devices. The chips concerned are 5G-ready, a technology Apple may not adopt next year given that rollout of the next-generation mobile data standard is still likely to be limited then. Large-scale rollout of 5G isn’t expected to happen before 2020, and Apple tends to be a relatively late adopter of new standards.

Intel reportedly hasn’t given up hope of winning further Apple business, however: the company is said to be hoping to pitch 5G chips to Apple for its 2022 devices.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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