Following yesterday’s report from Israeli publication CTech that Apple has decided not to use an Intel 5G modem called “Sunny Peak” in future iPhones, Intel has denied part of the report — and the publication has updated its story to remove its central claim.
“Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.” When asked whether this meant that Apple is a customer for an Intel 5G modem, the spokesperson said only that “the Intel 5G modem part of the story is inaccurate.”
The updated report explains that Sunny Peak was not in fact a 5G modem, and did not — as initially claimed — combine 5G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth on one chip. Rather, the unannounced component is only a combined Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip and was expected to include support for 802.11ad WiGig Wi-Fi, but it ran into engineering issues. Internal communications reviewed by CTech suggested that Intel ceased work on the chip and reassigned its team to other projects, as Apple had been expected to be the major purchaser.
Intel’s relationship with Apple has been the topic of intense interest in recent months, as the Cupertino company’s plans for Intel modems and CPUs have remained in a state of flux. Apple has reportedly considered MediaTek as a replacement 5G modem supplier for Intel and is also said to be moving its Macs away from Intel CPUs to self-developed chips over the next few years.
However, Apple still uses Intel parts in its devices — for now — and will reportedly continue to increase its use of Intel modems within this year’s iPhones. The secretive company generally does not comment on its relationships with component suppliers, and it often restricts those suppliers from discussing their Apple contracts.