First Intel 5G modem product moved up, said to be used in iPhone testing next year

Intel is believed to be supplying 5G modem chips for Apple’s iPhone starting in 2020. However, Intel is looking to produce its 5G chips sooner than previously planned, which could be important to testing them in upcoming iPhones.

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A new press release today from Intel (via The Vergedetails that the company’s first 5G modem, the XMM 8160, will be produced sooner than originally expected. Moving up manufacturing by more than six months should allow Apple and other smartphone makers to test the chip before making devices available with the 5G support in 2020.

Intel has accelerated the timing of this modem by pulling in the launch by more than a half-year. The XMM 8160 5G will support peak speeds up to 6 gigabits per second, making it three to six times faster than the latest LTE modems available today. It will be available in the second half of 2019 and will deliver the features and experiences to accelerate widespread 5G adoption.

However, as noted by The Verge, almost all other OEMs are on board to use Qualcomm’s 5G chip.

Currently, at least 18 major companies — including Samsung, Nokia / HMD, Sony, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, HTC, LG, Asus, ZTE, Sharp, Fujitsu, and OnePlus — are working with Qualcomm and its Snapdragon X50 5G NR modems. Huawei and Samsung are both also working on their own in-house 5G modems, too.

Intel notes that the first “commercially available” smartphones featuring its new XMM 8160 5G modem will come in the first half of 2020, but Apple is thought to be waiting for the next version, the 8161. That could line up with a 2H2020 release.

Apple is also allegedly in talks with MediaTek about supplying modems for iPhone.


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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.