Apple's Rumored to Debut First 5G iPhone in 2020 With Intel as Modem Supplier

Apple will launch its first 5G iPhone in 2020, according to an unnamed source that spoke to Fast Company.

Apple is said to be planning to use Intel's 8161 modem chip in the 2020 iPhone lineup, with Intel set to be the sole provider of 5G chips for Apple devices. The upcoming 8161 chip will be fabricated using Intel's 10-nanometer process.

intel5g
Right now, Intel is said to be testing a precursor to the 8161, the 8060, which will be used for prototyping the 5G iPhone.

Fast Company's source says that Apple has "been unhappy" with Intel as of late because of Intel's failure to solve heat dissipation and battery life issues with the 8060 modem chip that's in the works.

Many wireless carriers, including Verizon and AT&T in the U.S., will initially rely on millimeter-wave spectrum (between 30 gigahertz and 300 Ghz) to connect the first 5G phones. But millimeter-wave signal requires some heavy lifting from the modem chips, our source explains. This causes the release of higher-than-normal levels of thermal energy inside the phone-so much so that the heat can be felt on the outside of the phone.

Despite its displeasure with Intel, Apple has not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for the 2020 iPhone models. The company has, however, held conversations with modem chip maker MediaTek as a Plan B if Intel can't work out its modem problems over the course of the next year and a half.

With its legal dispute with Qualcomm escalating, Apple has been relying on Intel chips for its devices. The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR all use Intel modem chips, with Apple having transitioned away from Qualcomm entirely for its flagship iPhone lineup.

Rumors late last year suggested Intel and Apple were already working on 5G chip technology for future iPhone devices. Intel is said to have thousands of people working on 5G tech to catch up with Qualcomm and win Apple's 5G modem contract.

The first 5G smartphones are expected to start debuting early in 2019, with the first to be Android devices using Qualcomm 5G chips. 5G technology is expected to deliver speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than the average 4G connection, at a gigabit per second or higher, along with lower latency and other benefits.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 12
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

HiVolt Avatar
47 months ago
MediaTek? Seriously?

Give up Apple, just pay Qualcomm. You're not hurting for cash.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
47 months ago
It's not about money, principles are though.
At Apple, profits > principles.

Strange world we live in when a $50 Huawei has Qualcomm radio but a future $1K iPhone might have a Mediatek radio.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andres Cantu Avatar
47 months ago
Say what you will about Qualcomm, but they're still #1 when it comes to modem technology. And to me, it's a loss that Apple doesn't have them in their iPhones anymore. Perfect example of a battle between two big companies where the loser is the consumer.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seatton Avatar
47 months ago
Hopefully it will be called iPhone 5G. Time to get out of the messy names like iPhone XR, XS and XS Max...
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPandian1 Avatar
47 months ago
"... millimeter-wave signal requires some heavy lifting from the modem chips, our source explains. This causes the release of higher-than-normal levels of thermal energy inside the phone-so much so that the heat can be felt on the outside of the phone".

Only thermal energy - how about radiation?
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
47 months ago
Qualcomm, HiSilicon, Intel, MediaTek

Out of the 4 competitors, Apple is choosing the bottom 2 to buy modems from. Seems like Apple enjoys a challenge.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
iphone 13 pro max display bleen

iPhone 14 Max Reportedly Weeks Behind Schedule [Updated]

Thursday May 26, 2022 7:25 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Max is currently behind schedule by around three weeks, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu. Yesterday, Nikkei Asia reported that at least one iPhone 14 model was three weeks behind schedule due to the impact of lockdowns on Apple's supply chains in China, but it was not clear which iPhone 14 model this related to. Now, Pu has clarified that the model...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5.1 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Wednesday May 25, 2022 9:42 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5.1, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5.1 comes about 10 days after the launch of tvOS 15.5. tvOS 15.5.1 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌‌‌ owners who have automatic software updates...