Behind the Intel-Apple modem divorce

“Johny Srouji, the Apple executive in charge of building chips for the company’s devices, was fed up with Intel,” Aaron Tilley reports for The Information. “It was early 2017 and Apple was preparing a new line of iPhones to be released the next year, but the Intel modem for the devices, known as the 7560, wasn’t working properly, according to two people with knowledge of the relationship… Missed deadlines and continuing technical issues with the chip were making Apple executives anxious, said one of the people.”

“‘This would have never happened at Apple under my watch,’ Mr. Srouji barked at his Intel counterpart, Venkata ‘Murthy’ Renduchintala, during a meeting on Apple’s campus, according to the person, who was present at the meeting,” Tilley reports. “The episode offers new insight into Apple’s fraying relationship with Intel, a high-profile alliance that splintered publicly last month, when Apple said it would resume buying modems from Qualcomm as part of a wider high-profile legal settlement between the companies. It shows that Apple’s frustrations with Intel’s modem efforts began earlier than previously reported and involved Intel’s struggles with an earlier generation of modems, not just new 5G chips designed to connect future phones to wireless networks at lightning-fast speeds.”

Apple’s “multiyear modem agreement with Qualcomm may only be temporary since Apple has a large in-house team developing its own modem, as The Information has previously reported,” Tilley reports. “But that in-house effort appears to be farther from fruition than some chip experts have predicted. In interviews with prospective hires for the team, Apple has told engineers that they expect to have their own modem ready by 2025, a person familiar with the discussions said.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The fracturing of Apple and Intel’s relationship is not just modems, of course, as Tilley reminds, “Just as it is working on its own modem chip in-house, Apple has a multiyear effort to design the main processing chip for its Mac computers, which would allow it to move away from Intel for the chips, said a person familiar with the project.”

Intel is well-past its glory days. Today, Intel’s claim to fame – besides not being able to make modem chips very well – is peddling inefficient, embarrassing, fatally-flawed junk.

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    1. Except they are already developing best in class processors. Why can’t they just add more cores? TSMC is already years ahead of intel with their stamping technology.

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