Over the past few years, Apple has relied more heavily upon Intel as a supplier for LTE modems for the iPhone. This, of course, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given Apple’s penchant for sourcing components from different suppliers, not to mention Apple’s ongoing legal squabbles with Qualcomm over royalty payments.
While Intel still has an ongoing partnership with Apple, a report earlier this week relayed that the aforementioned partnership might be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Specifically, a report out of Israel alleged that Apple has opted not to source 5G modems from Intel for upcoming iPhone models. What’s more, the report alleged that Intel, as a result, stopped development of its 5G modem altogether.
Now comes word that Intel may not be out of the picture just yet. In the wake of the aforementioned report, an Intel spokesperson told Venturebeat the following:
Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects.
At the same time, the earliest we might see an iPhone model with 5G support is likely 2020. In other words, Intel’s statement can be interpreted any number of ways.
Venturebeat asked a follow-up question, inquiring as to whether or not Apple will be utilizing the company’s 5G modems on upcoming iPhone models. Intel’s spokesperson simply responded that the “Intel 5G modem part of the story is inaccurate.”
Now what that means for the company’s relationship with Apple remains anyone’s guess. What we do know is that Apple, historically speaking, doesn’t think twice about dropping long-term component suppliers in response to shifts in performance and pricing. Case in point: there are rumblings that Apple is planning to replace Intel chips in its Mac lineup with Apple-designed processors as early as 2020.