iPhone 5G variant may launch in 2020 with Intel chip inside

“Intel has reportedly stated that it is on course to deliver its XMM 8160 5G modem chip later this year, raising the probability of a 5G iPhone by 2020”

Apple has been seemingly readying its 2019 iPhones, with the major talking point for this year’s iPhone being the rather untoward design that we have so far seen in renders. However, there was initial speculation in terms of Apple producing 5G-compliant iPhones in 2020. All that was seemingly quashed of late, with reports suggesting that Apple will be sticking to Intel’s upcoming 7nm 5G modem to deliver its first 5G ready iPhone and the said chips not being ready for implementation in time. Now, however, a new report has revealed that the Intel XMM 8160 5G multimode modem will indeed be ready in time, giving rise to the possibility of a 5G iPhone in 2020.

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Intel has previously stated that it is developing its first 5G modem, dubbed the XMM 8160, using 7nm fabrication process. The modem itself is expected to be ready by later this year, within which time it is expected to supply Apple with engineering samples. This is crucial, since once Apple approves the design and connectivity capabilities, Intel will then be required to mass supply Apple with the 5G chips for engineering and production validation tests by early next year. There are multiple roadblocks to this, with the foremost one apparently being the cost involved — Intel’s profit margins are not massive when it comes to dealing with Apple. Furthermore, Apple also has the first mover right with Intel, which essentially prevents Intel from supplying to other manufacturers in order to reap in higher profits.

Apple is also said to be developing its own 5G chips, after it has been revealed that Samsung and MediaTek will not be capable enough to deliver 5G chips to Apple in the timeline and mass that it requires. However, Apple is now believed to have employed its own resource into developing a 5G chipset, although it is said to be in early stages right now and is certainly not expected to be ready by 2021.

It remains to be seen how the 5G rollout pans out this year. While 2020 is certainly going to be the year when 5G goes mainstream, Apple will hope that it does not miss out on rolling out the latest network standard with its iPhones in time with other manufacturers. The Cupertino giant has been known for being ahead or in line with the industry when it comes to the core smartphone technology, and it will certainly hope to avoid falling behind now.