Apple ramps up 5G modem efforts as it 'loses confidence' in Intel

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook speaks during a company product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park

We are already expecting a number of Android devices to launch with 5G support sometime this year, but Apple isn't expected to release a 5G iPhone till 2020. Its 5G iPhones aren't due to arrive until next year, but its turbulent relationship with Intel could see those plans delayed.

Just like previous rumours and analysts notes have indicated, a UBS analyst says there is an increasing likelihood that Apple won't have a 5G iPhone ready for 2020. As far as the production of 5G modems is concerned, Apple's best choices are Qualcomm and Intel, but given the dispute against the San Diego-based chipmaker, the latter remains the only option.

Intel's 5G modem roadmap indicates that the company's 5G chipsets will likely be released by the end of next year, but Arcuri says that the company will likely miss this deadline.

The scoop comes courtesy of Fast Company, which cites an anonymous source that claims to have some insight into the development of the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem.

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Instead, Apple reportedly now has between 1,000 to 2,000 engineers working on the modem project, many of which were hired from both Intel and Qualcomm.

A new report suggests Apple is now heavily invested in the creation of its own smartphone modems.

Does Apple regret its legal woes with Qualcomm? There's also a possibility Apple could manufacture its own modems, though this is unlikely. It's possible that Samsung simply doesn't want to supply the part, as Apple missing the boat on 5G may be worth more to Samsung than the windfall of revenue that its modem would provide. First, MediaTek isn't considered a company that can't reach iPhone requirements, and second, Apple is already trying to reduce reliance on Samsung and such an approach wouldn't align with its long-term vision. If this is true, it would be bad news for Intel, which now makes iPhone modems.

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