APPLE IS REPORTEDLY ramping up its in-house modem efforts as it "loses confidence" in Intel's ability to deliver chips in time for the launch of its first 5G iPhone in 2020.
So says Fast Company, which has heard from a source "with knowledge of the situation" that Intel has been missing deadlines for the development of its XMM 8160 5G modem, despite last year bringing forward the launch of the chip by six months.
Intel, which was to be Apple's sole supplier of 5G modems for its 2020 iPhones given the firm's ongoing beef with Qualcomm, needs to deliver sample parts to Apple by early summer of this year before delivering a finished modem design in early 2020.
However, Apple - which is said to be "demanding" that its orders be first in line for Intel's fab, forcing the chipmaker to lower the priority of higher-margin chip orders - is said to have "lost confidence" in Intel's ability to deliver the chip on time.
This concern has been backed up by UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri, who said in a research note on Wednesday: "We do not believe [Intel] will be ready with a single chip backward compatible 5G modem."
Apple is now in a bit of a rut. Fast Company reports that the company has accelerated its in-house efforts and has between 1,000 and 2,000 engineers - many of which it recruited from Intel and Qualcomm - working on modem chips, but notes that these unlikely will be ready until 2021.
It's also held talks with both Samsung and MediaTek about supplying 5G chips in the near term, the report says, but notes that neither firm is likely to be in a position to supply the modems for a 5G iPhone in 2020.
While Apple, naturally, has yet to comment on the report, Intel has debunked claims that its modem production has fallen behind schedule.
"As we said in November 2018, Intel plans to support customer device launches in 2020 with its XMM 8160 5G multimode modem," an Intel spokesperson said in a statement given to INQ. µ
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