Apple May Launch its First 5G iPhone in 2020 With an Intel Modem

BY Evan Selleck

Published 2 Nov 2018

A lot of attention is starting to be paid to 5G, which is the next major step in speed and reliability for wireless carriers.

And it looks like Apple is not ignoring it, either. Which makes sense, especially because 5G will be the default network choice at some point in the future. Turns out we may see Apple’s first 5G iPhone launch in 2020. That’s according to a new report from Fast Company, citing unnamed sources. According to the sources, Apple will be using Intel’s 8161 modem to facilitate the connection to 5G networks out there in the real world.

The chip will be fabricated with Intel’s 10nm process, and it sounds like Intel is going to be the sole provider for Apple and 5G modems when the time comes. Apple is said to be already testing 5G modems in its iPhones, too, starting with Intel’s 8060 chip. But it also sounds like Apple has not been all that happy with Intel in regards to heat dissipation in these chips:

”Many wireless carriers, including Verizon and AT&T in the U.S., will initially rely on millimeter-wave spectrum (between 30 gigahertz and 300 Ghz) to connect the first 5G phones. But millimeter-wave signal requires some heavy lifting from the modem chips, our source explains. This causes the release of higher-than-normal levels of thermal energy inside the phone-so much so that the heat can be felt on the outside of the phone.”

The reliance on Intel isn’t surprising, all things considered, even if we’re looking ahead to 2020. Apple and Qualcomm are still not seeing things eye-to-eye, and while both companies are probably hoping to have things resolved in a couple of years, it sounds like Apple is not going to restart conversations with Qualcomm in regards to using the company’s modems anytime soon. As a result, Apple will continue to rely on Intel for its modems moving forward.

[via Fast Company]