Intel working with Apple to bring super-fast 5G to future iPhones

“Apple is leaning heavily toward Intel’s flavor of 5G for a future iPhone, a source with knowledge tells Fast Company,” Mark Sullivan reports for Fast Company.

“The iPhone maker’s engineers have been engaged with Intel counterparts for early work on 5G, the upcoming technology for next-generation wireless broadband, our source says, while dialog between Apple and the dominant modem supplier in the industry, Qualcomm, has been limited,” Sullivan reports. “Apple engineers believe that Intel’s 5G modem will fit its requirements for a future iPhone.”

“Intel has lagged far behind Qualcomm in the modem market, but has a small army working on 5G, numbering in the “multiple thousands,” the source estimates. The initiative to provide the 5G modem for the iPhone is now considered a ‘must-win’ for Intel… The completion of the modem aligns with Apple’s plans for a 5G iPhone in 2019 or 2020,” Sullivan reports. “A 5G iPhone will be capable of connection speeds of a gigabit per second and beyond, which could radically change the way we compute, communicate, and consume content using the device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sleep tight, Qualcomm, ye greedy bastages.


  1. Good, but either way, Qualcomm will extract its toll as the industry members steer the 5g standard towards their own IP. Qualcomm has a ton of so-called IP in the next standard. Even if Apple uses an Intel modem, they’ll pay Qualcomm.

  2. Looking fort her into the future, Apple partnering with Intel for new wireless technology will mean that Qualcomm will not only lose sales, but may also become sidelined by newer technology developed by Intel and Apple.

    Apple has the sales figures, the budget, the imagination and the desire to make tremendous advances in communications chips. If they can pull off anything remotely like what they achieved with CPUs, then things are going to get very interesting.

    It’s always been obvious that Apple wants to keep pushing the envelope with regards to where technology is heading. They have been seen to do it with every element of the iPhone and when other companies have reacted positively to Apple’s input, it has been beneficial for both parties. It seems perverse that Qualcomm has never been particularly keen on Apple’s input, which has been so beneficial elsewhere.

    We recently read how Apple designs it’s silicon three years ahead and optimises it for where they think the technology is heading by then. By contrast, if Apple cannot meaningfully shape the direction that communications chips are heading and has to largely take whatever Qualcomm builds, then next year’s iPhones have be built to utilise last year’s comms chips. That’s not how Apple likes to operate.

    1. Agreed: “By contrast, if Apple cannot meaningfully shape the direction that communications chips are heading and has to largely take whatever Qualcomm builds, then next year’s iPhones have be built to utilise last year’s comms chips. That’s not how Apple likes to operate.”

      Qualcomm is just like MS’s thinking was and is: Old paradigm. they built on new technology and want to hold on to it into the predictive future, as Jony Ives recently said. Apple was a thorn in their side then, and now a knife in their heart! The future is not built upon what is going to stay the same!

    1. It probably doesn’t matter much to Apple whether they build in-house modems or whether they collaborate with a manufacturer ( such as Intel ) to shape what they want. However it might make a big difference to Qualcomm.

      If Apple builds it’s own modem chips, then those chips will only be available to Apple and other manufacturers will have to use other modems, which means that Qualcomm continues to have good sales opportunities. On the other hand, if Apple collaborates with Intel, then those Intel chips would presumably be available to others, which means that Qualcomm would have to deal with serious competition.

      Bizzarely, Qualcomm’s best hope would be for Apple to build it’s own modem chips rather than for Apple to empower a serious rival to Qualcomm.

    1. √ Exactly. If you’ve got LTE Advanced, you’ve got actual, for realz 4G. If you only got marketing branded “4G” you don’t have 4G. They lied to you. It’s what I personally call Marketing Moron behavior, aka Screw Thy Customer.

      Why they fake it: Because admitting that these lazy ass mobile phone companies haven’t caught up with 4G after all these years is deeply embarrassing and indicates to their customers that their companies are indeed lazy asses.

      So when will the lazy asses get to 5G? See you in three years, maybe. We’re stuck in an era of corporatocracy. We peasant peon little customers get what they feed us, and like it. I personally call this Customer Abuse and these companies Garbage.

  3. Obtaining a reliable 4G connection can already be problematic. My understanding, which may be flawed, is that 5G is shorter range, which leads me to believe that it is based on a higher frequency. Until I see 5G function well in the real world at a variety of locations, indoors and outdoors, I will remain skeptical. If I had fiber to my home, I could theoretically get 1Gbps (which would be great). I have a hard time believing that a large scale commercial wireless system will get anywhere close to that in real practice.

    Perhaps we would be better off if the cell industry took a “Snow Leopard” approach to wireless service and focused its near term effort on making 4G service faster and more reliable. Besides, with 5G/1Gbps, I could blow through my cell phone data cap in less than 5 seconds! Speed is always nice, but the cell phone companies will surely constrain us with data caps.

    I only get ~35 Mbps through my home internet connection through coax cable. In truth, that is actually fine for most of my needs right now. Even a GB file downloads reasonably quickly, and I have not had any difficulties with streaming video and such across multiple devices. As I phase in 4K video content, that may change (although the kids are leaving the house, so it might balance out in my favor!). Anyway, speed is great as long as it is achieved with a balance in total capacity.

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