Intel won’t be providing 5G modem chips for iPhones

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This Intel modem will likely power the first 5G iPhone.
Intel is getting out of the 5G modem game completely!
Photo: Intel

Intel is getting out of the 5G smartphone modem business, meaning that we won’t get 5G Intel iPhones after all.

The news was announced by Intel hours after Apple and 5G pioneer Qualcomm revealed that they have resolved their multi-year legal battle.

Intel now says that it doesn’t expect to launch any of its 5G smartphone modem products. These include those which were originally planned for launch in 2020.

Instead, Intel says it will focus on its 5G network infrastructure business. It will also “complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices.”

“[I]n the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan in a statement.

Intel says that it will provide more detail in its upcoming Q1 2019 earnings call on April 25.

Problems with the 5G chips?

A recent report from Fast Company claimed that Intel had struggled with its 5G modem. The chip Intel was working on is called the XMM 8160 5G modem. However, it was claimed that Intel had continually missed deadlines along the way. As a result, the publication suggested that, “Apple has lost confidence in Intel to deliver the chip, our source says.”

Intel was quick to counter this report. In a statement that was issued to Cult of Mac and other outlets, an Intel representative said that: “Intel plans to support customer device launches in 2020 with its XMM 8160 5G multimode modem.”

For whatever reason, it seems like plans changed. Still, so long as we get the eagerly anticipated 5G iPhone by 2020, we’ll be happy!