Intel denies halting production of 5G modems following Apple snub

Intel Sunny Peak

Intel Sunny Peak

Development of "Sunny Peak" has now been halted, it's said, and the team working on the chipset redeployed to other projects. However, at some point Apple changed its mind, telling Intel it will not rely upon its modems in those devices. While Apple wasn't to be the only customer for 5G modems, the company was, the leaks suggest, the "main volume driver" for the "Sunny Peak" component. It is also said that the fresh decision has pushed the Santa Clara, California-headquartered company to halt the development of its chip that will combine a 5G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth chip under one build and redirected its engineers to other operations.

An unnamed Intel executive reportedly said in the internal documents, "The introduction of a new speedy WiFi standard WiGig (802.11ad) "into any mobile product brings new and unanticipated challenges".

That dream looks like it's on hold now, though. Intel execs have referred to the decision internally, though neither company has discussed it publicly and, indeed, are unlikely to. By 2020 - the year most tech analysts expect a 5G iPhone - Intel might not have modems in any iPhones.

The iPhone maker might be taking a different strategy over on the modem front.

It's not a bad thing if Intel were to exit making "baseband" modem chips altogether, he writes, and perhaps the recent departure of Brian Krzanich from the top spot will produce a new leader with "a better ear for our call to exit" that business.

And even if MediaTek's 5G chips aren't as fast as Intel's, the data speeds would still be a significant increase from the average of 450Mbps available on current Qualcomm and Intel-equipped iPhones. We will have to wait and see what solution Apple comes up with if they decide to ditch Intel.

If Apple makes good on both plans, Intel could be in for a real bruisin'. Securing a deal with the iPhone maker would strengthen Intel's market position amid the shift to 5G, a set of networking technologies now being implemented by major carriers.

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