Apple could make and integrate its own modems in iPhones by 2021, if Intel doesn’t deliver

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 04 Apr 2019

Apple reportedly employed over 1000 engineers, including people from Qualcomm and Intel, to work on its in-house 5G chip.

Apple could make and integrate its own modems in iPhones by 2021, if Intel doesn’t deliver

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  • Apple could use an in-house 5G modem on 2021 iPhones. 
  • The company is said to have a team of about 1000-1200 engineers working on its 5G modem. 
  • Intel has reportedly been having trouble keeping up Apple’s orders of 5G chips.


Apple’s 5G iPhones are still far away as the company is reported to launch them in 2020. While a previous report by Fast Company suggested that Apple will employ Intel’s XMM 8161 5G modem chip in its 2020 phones, a new report by the website suggests things might just turn out differently. The new report, citing sources with inside knowledge, claims that Apple has “lost confidence” in Intel’s promise of delivering the 5G modem chip in the second half of 2019. This could reportedly result in Apple developing a 5G modem in house as it is said to have a team of about 1000-1200 engineers that are working to design future 5G modems for iPhones. 

Apple has apparently recruited RF engineers from both Qualcomm and Intel to work on the project, at its new development facility in San Diego. With the development process ramping up, the company’s engineers might succeed in making 5G chips for future iPhones, which might be fabricated via TSMC or Samsung. However, the report does add that this is most likely to happen for iPhones being launched in 2021 and beyond. As for the 2020 iPhones, there seem to be no ideal options besides Intel chips for the Cupertino based company, the sources reveal. 

Apple has reportedly been in talks with both MediaTek and Samsung to get their supply of 5G modems in the near future. However, both the companies might not be able to deliver the modems. Sources close to the development say that Apple has proved to be a difficult client for Intel since the role of managing the project has been in at least three project managers. 

The smartphone maker is said to have negotiated a deal with Intel that leaves the latter with sparse profits. Additionally, the company has demanded that its chip orders be fulfilled first, which is apparently causing problems for Intel as it has to keep high-profit margin orders on the backburner. Intel is said to have taken up Apple on its demands because it would keep its fab busy with heavy orders that are the same and are cost efficient to produce in high volumes. 

Related Reads:

First Apple 5G iPhone with Intel modem chip to launch in 2020: Report


Digit NewsDesk

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