Apple's purpose-built smartphone modems are unlikely to get into iPhones and iPads before 2025, according to a new report from The Information .
Intel's strained relationship with Apple is full-screen in the beefy report showing that Apple had problems with Intel long before the 5G modems became a problem. Back in early 2017, Intel required to supply Apple with an LTE modem dedicated to the 2018 iPhone lineup. Despite overhauling the modem four times, Intel almost missed the deadline.
"This would never have happened on Apple under my watch," said Apple chip boss Johny Srouji during a meeting at the Apple campus with his Intel counterpart Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala. The information says that the problems with Intel finally asked Apple to reach a settlement with Qualcomm after confirming a legal war against the company for years.
Intel became the only provider of LTE modems on the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. However, the company's chips did not break confidence. In 2016, Apple purchased chips from both Intel and Qualcomm, but the company had to limit the LTE speed of the Qualcomm modems so that they would not be remarkably faster than Intel's slow modems.
Apple is not expected to add 5G modems to the iPhone by 2020, but it sounds like the company was very uncertain that Intel could deliver on time. Having to wait until the fall of 2021 to deliver next-generation data rates could have been a disaster for iPhone sales, so Apple made the unthinkable and signed a multi-year deal to use Qualcomm's chips.
The company is reportedly still pursuing its own modem technology, but people who have been interviewed to join the team say Apple does not expect to be ready to enter the market until 2025 early. At that time, the market can already move at 6G.
Shortly after Apple and Qualcomm announced their settlement, Intel told investors that it was coming out of the smartphone model business. Apple was apparently looking to buy Intel's modem division, but decided not to. Instead, Intel has to find another buyer and it says there are many companies looking to create the division.
"We have world-class 5G modem technology that very few companies have IP and capability to deliver," Intel's spokesman told The Information. "That's why many companies have expressed an interest in acquiring our mobile modem values since our last announcement that we consider our capabilities to realize the value we've created."