The first 5G smartphones should arrive in 2019, but don’t expect Apple to rush to join them. A Fast Company source claims Apple intends to use an Intel 5G modem, the 8161, in its 2020 batch of iPhones. Apple is reportedly using a precursor 8060 chip for prototyping, but has “heat dissipation issues” (due to the sheer demand needed for millimeter-wave signals) that would both raise the temperature and hurt battery life. The issue isn’t enough to send Apple running back into the arms of Qualcomm, but it’s supposedly “unhappy” with Intel for this reason. The FCC granted Apple approval to experiment with 5G technology last year, laying the groundwork for a 5G phone down the road.The report notes that the company plans to use Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip, although there are still some technical issues around heat dissipation that need to be resolved. Apple has reportedly also been chatting with MediaTek to supply the chips as a “Plan B.”
Apple is currently using Intel for the modems in its 2018 phone lineup, but it’s reportedly not going to use the company’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips for the 2020 model, as Apple could be the “main volume driver” for its modem.