A new ultra-fast Intel 5G wireless chip will not make its way into next-generation Apple iPhones, and will be axed, the chipmaker confirmed in a roundabout way.
The chip, codenamed “Sunny Peak”, was designed to provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and was supposed to be a core component of Apple’s smartphones shipping in 2020, providing multi-gigabit-a-second 802.11ad wireless networking. However, its development was halted after Apple told Intel it was no longer interested in using the part.
Apple was considered a “key mobile customer” of “Sunny Peak”, according to leaked Intel files. Apple was searching around for alternative suppliers for the radio communications chips used in its smartphones and tablets after falling out with wireless networking giant Qualcomm, turning to Intel and considering MediaTek instead. Rather than rely on Qualcomm for communication chips in its handsets, Apple hoped to use something other than Qualys components.
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Intel seized the opportunity to get its Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular modem technology into millions of iPhones, and managed to inject its 4G/LTE modem into Apple’s handsets.
Intel’s hopes of getting high-speed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip Sunny Peak into next-gen iPhones, due out in 2020, have been dashed, though: Apple is no longer interested, we’re told, and the chip has been scrapped.
“Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap HAVE NOT changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.” Intel said in a statement.
This would appear to imply Apple may still use the processor giant’s 5G cellular modems in future iPhones and other gadgets – just not its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth offering.
Intel and Apple have had a long on-again, off-again relationship, and it appears as though Apple is going sour on the chipmaker within reports it is mulling potentially dropping Intel chips in its smartphones and desktop computers.
Intel is desperate to be seen as a lead supplier for 5G modems, especially given the expected explosion in the demand for them over the next decade, so it is very keen to dispel rumors that Apple is dropping its 5G modem, even if that meant confirming the failure of the Sunny Peak Wi-Fi and Bluetooth project.
Apple, of course, has not commented.
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