Fast Company reports Apple intends to use Intel’s 5G-capable 8161 modem in an iPhone slated for release in 2020. The handset will be Apple’s first product to support the fast 5G standard, which was finalized earlier this year.
Intel is developing the 8161 with a transition chip called the 8060, silicon that will be used to prototype and test 5G in iPhone, sources said. Of note, the 8161 will be fabricated using Intel’s 10-nanometer process, fabrication technology that promises boosts in speed and efficiency.
Fast Company‘s source says that Apple has “been unhappy” with Intel as of late because of Intel’s failure to solve heat dissipation and battery life issues with the 8060 modem chip that’s in the works.
Despite its displeasure with Intel, Apple has not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for the 2020 iPhone models. The company has, however, held conversations with modem chip maker MediaTek as a Plan B if Intel can’t work out its modem problems over the course of the next year and a half.
With its legal dispute with Qualcomm escalating, Apple has been relying on Intel chips for its devices. The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR all use Intel modem chips, with Apple having transitioned away from Qualcomm entirely for its flagship iPhone lineup.
Rumors late last year suggested Intel and Apple were already working on 5G chip technology for future iPhone devices. Intel is said to have thousands of people working on 5G tech to catch up with Qualcomm and win Apple’s 5G modem contract.