Some reports have suggested that Apple has notified Intel that it will not be using Intel’s radio chips in 2020 iPhones. Apple was reported to be Intel’s primary customer for its combined 5G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth chip but has now decided to move away from them.
There was also a report from Calcalist suggesting that Intel has since stopped the development of that 5G modem that was code-named Sunny Peak. This is because Apple was supposed to be their “main volume driver” for the chip. The team working on the radio chip was reportedly dissolved and the engineers were reassigned to work on other Intel projects.
But Intel denied such claims by giving out this statement, “Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.”
Earlier, Bloomberg had also reported that Apple was going to move away from Intel modems, and is instead making a switch to another major chip maker, MediaTek. Apple used Qualcomm chips in the past for its iPhones, but the legal battle that has been going on between the two companies over patent infringements has forced it to look for alternatives. A research note from Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had indicated that it has been trying to reduce its dependence on Qualcomm chips and that’s why it would be relying far more heavily on Intel’s modems on this year’s iPhones.
Although it’s still unclear who will Apple turn to now, to meet its radio chip requirements. There are many possibilities, it may try to improve its relationship with Qualcomm by 2020, or, as reported earlier, may make a switch to MediaTek entirely.
There’s also a chance that Apple may create the chips in-house using its own technology. If it actually starts making chips in-house, its dependence on other companies would decrease drastically and will give it more control over the iPhone and how much an iPhone costs to manufacture.