Intel Launches New W-2200 Xeon Chips Appropriate for an Updated iMac Pro

Intel today launched new W-2200 Cascade Lake-X Xeon chips that are potentially suitable for a new iMac Pro should Apple be planning to refresh the machine in the near future.

Right now, Apple uses custom Intel Xeon-W chips for its iMac Pro models, but could use a stock version of the W-2200 Xeon chips or a custom version.


There are up to 18 AVX 512 enabled cores in the new W-2200 chips, along with up to 48 PCIe lanes, Turbo Boost Max 3.0, and AI acceleration (Intel Deep Learning Boost) for visual effects, motion graphics, 3D rendering, and more. The chips are similar to Intel's X-Series chips but with Intel vPro for support for up to 1TB ECC RAM, VROC, and RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability) features.

According to Intel, its new chips offer 2x faster 3D architecture rendering, 97% faster 4K video editing, and 2.1x faster video game compile times.


Intel is introducing a new, more affordable pricing structure for the updated chips, dropping prices by up to almost 50 percent compared to prior-generation Xeon chips. The pricing cuts could drive the cost of future iMac Pro models down should Apple pass those savings along to consumers.


Apple released the iMac Pro in 2017 and hasn't updated it since then, so it's due for a refresh. There are no rumors that an updated model is in the works, but we often don't hear much about minor Mac refreshes, so upgraded processors and other hardware could still come in a 2019 update.

Intel says the new Xeon W-2200 chips will be available starting in November.

Tag: Intel

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16-Inch MacBook Pro Will Reportedly Use Intel’s 9th-Gen Processors With Up to 8 Cores

Apple's widely rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro will be powered by Intel's 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh processors, in line with the 15-inch MacBook Pro released in May, according to IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin.


If accurate, this means the 16-inch MacBook Pro will be configurable with up to an 8-core Core i9 processor with a 2.4GHz base clock speed and a max Turbo Boost frequency of 5.0GHz. The lineup also includes 6-core Core i7 processors. All of the chips are 45W with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630.

Rumors suggest the 16-inch MacBook Pro will feature an all-new design with narrower bezels and a more reliable scissor mechanism keyboard. In a research note obtained by Forbes, Lin said the 16-inch display will have 227 pixels per inch, in line with its previously rumored 3,072×1,920 resolution.

Lin believes the 16-inch MacBook Pro will enter production in September, setting the stage for a fall release, but there is still some debate as to whether Apple will unveil the notebook in September or October. In the fall, Apple typically unveils new Macs in October, but it could always break with tradition.

There is some speculation that the 15-inch MacBook Pro may be discontinued shortly after the 16-inch model launches, but TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the 15-inch model will be refreshed in 2020.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
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Intel Reveals New 10th-Gen Core Processors Suitable for MacBook Air and Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Intel today introduced its first 10th-generation Core processors, codenamed Ice Lake. Built on a 10-nanometer process, the chips are designed for thin-and-light notebooks, meaning they could potentially make their way to future entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.


Intel says the Ice Lake chips have increased board integration, allowing manufacturers like Apple to release notebooks with sleeker designs. The chips also feature Intel's all-new Gen11 graphics architecture for up to double the graphics performance, and integrated Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6, aka 802.11ax.

The lineup of 11 new processors includes six U-series chips and five Y-series chips:


Intel is also introducing a new processor number naming structure starting with this first set of 10th-generation Core processors, doing away with Y and U series identifiers and instead emphasizing graphics. The new structure is a bit confusing, but The Verge has a nice breakdown for deciphering them.


Intel expects the first notebooks with Ice Lake chips to be available in time for the holiday shopping season.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Apple in ‘Advanced Talks’ to Buy Intel’s Smartphone Modem Chip Business

Apple is now in advanced talks to purchase Intel's smartphone modem chip business, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with Apple's plans.

A deal that covers a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1 billion or more could be established as soon as next week if the talks continue.

Intel 5G Modem
Apple and Intel have reportedly been in on and off talks for approximately a year. As reported earlier, the talks ended right around the time that Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal disputes and reached a new supply agreement.

Intel sought other buyers and found other interested parties, but discussions with Apple resumed shortly after they ended.
The Apple-Intel discussions began last summer, around the time former Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich resigned, people familiar with the matter have said. Mr. Krzanich championed the modem business and touted 5G technology as a big future revenue stream. When Bob Swan was named to that job in January, analysts said the odds of a deal rose because his focus on cleaning up Intel would require addressing the losses in the modem business.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, purchasing Intel's modem chip business would provide Apple with a leg up on its efforts to develop its own modem chips in house, which would ultimately make the company less reliant on Qualcomm.

Apple has been working on developing its own modem chips since at least 2018, but the technology isn't expected to be ready for use in iPhones and iPads for a few years.

Intel in April announced that it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business, sharing the news just after Apple and Qualcomm announced their new deal. Since then, Intel has been seeking a buyer for its smartphone modem business.

Apple had been planning to use Intel's 5G chips for its 2020 iPhones, but rumors suggested Intel wasn't able to meet design deadlines, souring the relationship between the two companies. Apple now plans to use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips in its 2020 iPhones and has established a deal for chips for future devices as well.

Tag: Intel

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Intel Reportedly in Exclusive Talks With Unnamed Buyer Over 8,500 Wireless Patents

Just weeks after Intel reportedly put around 8,500 wireless patents up for auction, the chipmaker has now taken the portfolio off the market and entered into a period of exclusivity with an unnamed buyer for a substantial portion of the assets up for sale, according to IAM.

Intel 5G Modem
While the hopeful buyer has not been disclosed, the report speculates it could be Apple:
Intel gave no indication of who the interested bidder might be; whether, for example, it is an operating company acting on its own, a consortium or an investor play. However, given the reports of Apple's interest in the chipmaker's overall smartphone modem business, the iPhone giant must be seen as among the most likely bidders.
Intel is reportedly aiming to sell off 8,500 assets from its patent portfolio, including 6,000 patents related to 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular standards and an additional 1,700 patents on wireless implementation technologies.

The portfolio would obviously be tremendously valuable to Apple as rumors suggest the iPhone maker is developing its own cellular modems that could be ready by 2022 or 2023, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple is also widely expected to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone next year.

In April, Intel announced that it is exiting the 5G smartphone business, not long after Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and a multi-year supply agreement that will see Qualcomm providing 5G modems for future iPhones.

Apple is reportedly interested in purchasing parts of Intel's smartphone modem business following its exit, possibly including its German division. Together with the 8,500 patents, this would give Apple a significant amount of 5G-related intellectual property to advance its wireless technologies.

Tags: Intel, 5G

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Apple Hires ARM’s Lead CPU Architect Amid Rumors of ARM-Based Macs as Early as 2020

Multiple reports have indicated that Apple plans to transition to its own ARM-based processors in Macs starting as early as 2020, and the company recently made a significant hire that lends credence to that objective.


ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips.

Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple.


Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company.

Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year.

Apple already designs its own A-series chips for the iPhone and the iPad, and it also designs the custom T2 security chip in recent Mac models, as part of its broader efforts to move to in-house components and chip designs. Apple has long been known for closely integrating its hardware and software.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that the transition to ARM-based processors is part of a multi-step process that will eventually allow developers to create one app with a single binary that runs across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has already laid the groundwork for this with Project Catalyst.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tags: Intel, ARM
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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Apple in Talks to Purchase Intel’s German Modem Unit

Apple is in talks to buy Intel's German modem unit, which could help the Apple develop its own modem chips more quickly, reports The Information.

Intel is considering selling its modem business in pieces, and this is not the first time we've heard word that Apple's interested in a purchase. Back in April, The Wall Street Journal said that Apple had held discussions with Intel about acquiring parts of the Intel modem chip business, and apparently, those talks are ongoing.

Intel 5G Modem
Any deal between Apple and Intel would likely include Intel patents and products, said one person briefed on the discussions. Such an arrangement would resemble the deal Apple reached with Dialog Semiconductor, a U.K.-based company that designs chips that handle power management chores in devices. Last year, Apple and Dialog struck a $600 million deal that brought 300 Dialog employees to Apple, along with some patents.
The two companies have been in discussions since last year, but The Information warns that the talks could still fall through without a deal.

The Information estimates that a deal for Intel's German modem business could bring "hundreds" of modem engineers to Apple. Intel's chip production facilities are headquartered in Germany after a 2011 purchase of chip maker Infineon.

Intel announced in April that it was exiting the 5G smartphone modem business, sharing the news just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced a resolution to their ongoing legal battle and established a new supply deal.

Apple had been planning to use Intel's 5G chips for its 2020 iPhones, but rumors indicated Intel wasn't able to meet design deadlines, causing the relationship between the two companies to sour. Apple is now planning to use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips in its 2020 5G iPhones, and is also working on its own modem chip development for later devices.

In the future, Apple is aiming to reduce its dependence on suppliers like Qualcomm by creating its own modem chips, but the company still has a few years to go before the technology is ready. According to The Information, Apple has been telling new modem chip hires in San Diego that it doesn't expect to release devices with its own modem chips until 2025.


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Apple-Designed iPhone Modems Could Take Until 2025, Intel Confirms Interest in Modem Business

The Information has published a lengthy look into Apple's seemingly deteriorating relationship with Intel in terms of iPhone modems, leading to Apple's rekindled relationship with rival chipmaker Qualcomm last month.

Intel 5G Modem
The report claims that Apple's frustrations with Intel's modem efforts began earlier than previous reports have indicated and involved Intel's struggles with modems for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, not just the 5G smartphone modem business that Intel announced its exit from last month.
It was early 2017 and Apple was preparing a new line of iPhones to be released the next year, but the Intel modem for the devices, known as the 7560, wasn't working properly, according to two people with knowledge of the relationship. […] Intel had already overhauled the modem four times to bring it up to par with the latest Qualcomm modem. But missed deadlines and continuing technical issues with the chip were making Apple executives anxious, said one of the people.

"This would have never happened at Apple under my watch," Mr. Srouji barked at his Intel counterpart, Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, during a meeting on Apple's campus, according to the person, who was present at the meeting.
The size and structure of Intel's mobile division made it difficult to efficiently engineer modems, with teams struggling to work together, according to multiple current and former Intel employees and industry partners cited in the report.

In a statement provided to The Information, Intel also confirmed interest in its modem business from many companies, reportedly including Apple:
We have world-class 5G modem technology that very few companies have the IP and expertise to deliver. That's why many companies have expressed interest in acquiring our cellular modem assets since our recent announcement that we are assessing our options to realize the value we have created.
While it appears that Apple and Qualcomm's multi-year licensing and chipset supply agreement will result in Qualcomm supplying modems for the first 5G-enabled iPhones, expected to launch in 2020, multiple reports have indicated that Apple is on the path to developing its own cellular modems.

According to The Information, however, those in-house effort appear to be farther away than initially thought. During interviews, the report claims Apple told prospective engineers that they expect to have their own modem ready by 2025, far later than the earliest theoretical possibility of 2021.


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iPhone XS Max Signal Strength Compared to OnePlus 7 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10

The Samsung Galaxy S10 and the new OnePlus 7 Pro are both flagship smartphones that are designed to compete with the iPhone XS Max, and to see how their LTE chips compare, PCMag teamed up with Cellular Insights to test the signal strength of the new devices.

Apple's iPhone XS Max is equipped with an XMM7560 modem chip from Intel, while the Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro are using Qualcomm's X24 modem, which theoretically offers better performance.

iPhone XS Max in blue, OnePlus 7 Pro in orange, Samsung Galaxy S10 in gray, and LG V40 in yellow

The Intel XMM7560 modem in the iPhone XS Max supports supports 5-carrier aggregation but offers 1Gb/s maximum theoretical data transfer speeds, while the Qualcomm X24 in the Galaxy S10 has max theoretical speeds of 2Gb/s (it uses 7-carrier aggregation) and the OnePlus 7 Pro has max theoretical speeds of 1.2Gb/s (lower because it uses 5-carrier aggregation like the iPhone).

In testing on LTE band 4 with good signal, there wasn't a lot of difference in performance between the iPhone XS Max, the newer smartphones from Samsung and OnePlus, and the LG V40, which PCMag added in because it was 2018's best performing phone in terms of cellular speed.

All of the smartphones performed similarly, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 did see some of the slowest speeds, and at peak signal, the iPhone XS came in behind the OnePlus 7 Pro and the LG V40.

In a test with poorer LTE signal, the iPhone XS Max saw the slowest speeds and was outperformed by all of the Qualcomm chips. The iPhone XS Max was quite a bit slower than the Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro specifically.


Starting in 2020, Apple is no longer going to use Intel chips and is instead going to transition to Qualcomm's 5G chips. Intel has decided that it's exiting the 5G smartphone modem chip business leaving Apple no choice but to rely on Qualcomm technology and perhaps some chips from Samsung.

Apple and Qualcomm recently settled a vicious legal battle which had seen Apple refusing to use Qualcomm chips. Because of the dispute, Apple used Intel chips in the 2018 iPhones, and is expected to continue to use Intel chips for the 2019 iPhones.

Though the legal battle is over, Apple isn't likely to have time to swap over to Qualcomm modem chips for the 2019 iPhones, and Intel has confirmed that it's going to continue to supply 4G chips to meet its current obligations.


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Apple Considered Purchasing Intel’s Smartphone Modem Chip Business

Apple had discussions with Intel about potentially acquiring parts of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple was interested in Intel's technology to speed up its own efforts to build modem chips for smartphones.

Intel and Apple entered into discussions last summer and the talks continued for months, but ended right around the time Apple settled its legal dispute and reached a supply agreement with Qualcomm.

Intel 5G Modem
Sources at Intel that spoke to The Wall Street Journal said that Intel is exploring "strategic alternatives" for its smartphone modem chip business, and is still interested in a sale to Apple or another company.

In an interview yesterday, Intel CEO Bob Swan confirmed that Intel is considering alternatives "based on what's best" for Intel's IP and employees.
Selling the modem business would allow Intel to unload a costly operation that was losing about $1 billion annually, according to another person familiar with its performance. Any sale would likely include staff, a portfolio of patents and modem designs related to multiple generations of wireless technology, said Patrick Moorhead, principal at Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology firm.
Intel announced earlier this month that it was exiting the 5G smartphone business, just hours after Apple and Qualcomm announced a resolution to their legal troubles and a new supply deal.

Apple had been planning to use Intel's 5G chips in its 2020 iPhones, but rumors suggested Intel was having trouble meeting design deadlines and that the relationship between Apple and Intel was souring. Just yesterday, Swan also confirmed that Apple's deal with Qualcomm was the reason why Intel decided to stop making 5G chips.

Apple is now planning to use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips in its 2020 5G iPhones. Intel has said that it is going to continue to supply 4G LTE chips to meet already established orders, which means that Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup will likely continue to use Intel chips rather than Qualcomm chips. It is too late in the design cycle for Apple to swap chips for this year's upcoming devices.


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