Apple drops Intel's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip, might still source 5G modem from Intel

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 07 Jul 2018
Apple drops Intel's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip, might still source 5G modem from Intel
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An earlier report by the Isreali financial daily said that Apple had cancelled its order for Intel's 5G modem chip, when in fact, the chip in question was only for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

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New developments have surfaced around Apple-Intel 5G modem chip reports. Earlier, Isreali financial daily Calcalist had published on its tech blog leaked internal Intel documents that stated Apple was passing over Intel's 5G cellular modem chips for 2020 iPhones. However, it has since been learned that the analysts at Calcalist had wrongly assumed that the chip named Sunny Peak which was being dropped by Apple, combined 5G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

It has since been learned that the Sunny Peak chip was designed to combine Bluetooth with ultra-fast Wi-Fi. The misunderstanding prompted Intel Spokesperson to issue a clarification, stating that “the Intel 5G modem part of the story is inaccurate." This confirms that the Sunny Peak chip separates the 5G modem from the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips. This also confirms that Apple will be dropping this chip from the 2020 iPhone lineup, but this could also mean that Apple will continue to source its 5G Modem chips from Intel.

Apple dropping Intel for the 5G modem chips would have been an intangible move in the first place, given its dispute with Qualcomm. If Apple was to drop both Qualcomm and Intel from its list of suppliers for 5G modem chips, it would mean that the company would either must source them from MediaTek or produce the modem in-house. This also goes counter to a report published by Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple was going to be relying more heavily on Intel made 5G modem chips. Add to that the reports that Apple might also be ditching Intel’s processors for a future lineup of Macs in favour of an in-house chip make it seem like Apple has more reason to drop Intel than Qualcomm, which truly isn’t the case.

Given that Apple was the primary customer for the chip, Intel has reportedly stopped the production of the Sunny Peak chip. However, in a statement to The Verge, an Intel representative commented that “Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects,” indicating that Intel’s 5G plans would most likely not rely on Apple’s commitment for chip procurement.

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