Apple’s plans to match the 5G speeds that will feature heavily on next year’s flagship Android handsets have been thrown into disarray. Fans of the iPhone may have to wait until 2020 for faster connectivity.
Fast Company’s Mark Sullivan highlights Intel’s 8161 5G chip as the main issue, with excess heat being the main culprit:
Apple plans to use Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip in its 2020 phones. Intel hopes to fabricate the 8161 using its 10-nanometer process, which increases transistor density for more speed and efficiency. If everything goes as planned, Intel will be the sole provider of iPhone modems.
Intel has been working on a precursor to the 8161 called the 8060, which will be used for prototyping and testing the 5G iPhone.
Apple, our source says, has been unhappy with Intel lately. The most likely reason relates to the challenge of solving heat dissipation issues caused by the 8060 modem chip.
5G is expected to be one of the leading discussion points for handset manufacturers during 2019, with Mobile World Congress expected to showcase the first 5G handsets. I’d expect the likes of Oppo, Huawei and Vivo to be first out of the block with the faster connectivity. There’s also likely to be a push on foldable display technology at the high end. So there’s the trends for 2019 in place.
Where does that leave Apple? Tim Cook and his team have been working to make Intel its sole supplier in key areas and the expectation is that this relationship will continue. It would be a courageous move to switch to an alternative 5G chip supplier (such as MediaTek) so Apple’s choice is to either enact a radical change with its supply chain, or to stay the course and hope that the myth of ‘Apple only introduces mature technology’ will continue to be in place through next year’s model and another twelve months after that into late 2020 with the iPhone X4 (or will it be the iPhone XSSS?).
Now read more about Apple’s battery throttling issues with the iPhone X and iOS 12.1…