Qualcomm ‘Running Out’ of Time to Win 5G Modem Orders in 2020 iPhones Amid Legal Battle With Apple

Qualcomm may be running out of time if it wants to supply Apple with 5G modems for its 2020 iPhones as some rumors suggest.


In a research note today, analysts at investment bank Barclays said that while they originally thought Qualcomm had an opportunity to supply the 5G modems to Apple, they now believe that time "seems to be running out" unless the two companies can settle their bitter legal battle in the next few weeks.

Back in November, it was reported that Apple will tap Intel as its 5G modem supplier instead, but Barclays analysts believe that the modem design for 2020 iPhones "needs to be set now," and that the expected late 2019 availability of Intel's first consumer 5G modem "does not work with Apple's timeline."

Apple recently testified that it held conversations with Samsung and MediaTek as potential alternative suppliers, but it's unclear if those companies would be able to meet Apple's production, quality, and cost demands.

Apple is also reportedly working on its own cellular modems, but research and development appears to be in the early stages.

Last week, Intel confirmed that it expects the first consumer products embedded with its 5G chips to be released in 2020, the same year Apple is rumored to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone, enabling faster data speeds.


This article, "Qualcomm 'Running Out' of Time to Win 5G Modem Orders in 2020 iPhones Amid Legal Battle With Apple" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Intel’s 5G Chips Won’t Appear in Mobile Phones Until 2020

Reuters reports that Intel has confirmed that it does not expect their 5G chips to be in consumer products until 2020.
Intel Corp executives said on Friday its 5G modem chips will not appear in mobile phones until 2020, raising the possibility its biggest customer, Apple Inc, will be more than a year behind rivals in delivering a device that uses the faster networks.
Intel's timeline is tied closely with Apple's product plans due to Apple's reliance on Intel chips for their iPhone modems. Previously a Qualcomm customer, Apple and Qualcomm have been at odds due to an ongoing legal battle between the two companies. In fact, Qualcomm has been reportedly unwilling to sell their chips to Apple because of the conflict.

Intel 5G Modem
That has left Apple reliant on Intel for their modem chips in the latest line of iPhones, though Apple has been exploring other vendors, and even working to develop their own chips. That plan, however, isn't expected to produce results until 2021, at least.

Apple's waiting until 2020 to deliver 5G iPhones doesn't come as a surprise as previous rumors have said the same. This statement by Intel, however, does seem to confirm some of those previous rumors.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Intel Expecting Apple to Transition to Custom ARM-Based Chips Starting in 2020

Apple is planning to ditch Intel and transition to Mac chips starting in 2020, based on multiple rumors we've heard in the past from Bloomberg. Axios today confirmed Bloomberg's reporting and said that multiple sources have suggested Apple will transition to custom ARM-based chips next year.

According to Axios, developers and Intel officials are expecting Apple to begin using ARM-based chips in 2020.


The move to ARM-based chips is said to be part of Apple's effort to make Macs, iPhones, and iPads work together and run the same apps. Bloomberg earlier this week said that by 2021, Apple wants developers to be able to create one app that will work on iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Apple's transition to a single app for all devices has already begun. Last year, Apple ported several of its iOS apps, such as Voice Memos, Stocks, and Home, to macOS. This year, Apple plans to let developers transition iPad apps to macOS, and in 2020, that will include iPhone apps. In 2021, then, developers will be able to make just one app that users can download on any of Apple's platforms.

This transition will greatly increase the number of Mac apps available, and it will cut down on the amount of work developers have to put in to create a Mac app. It will also better unify Apple's operating systems across all of its devices.

There have been rumors about Apple transitioning to ARM-based Macs for years now, and they have ramped up given the many Intel chip delays that have resulted in subsequent delays for Mac products. With its own ARM-based chips, Apple will not be tied to Intel's chip release cycles.

Apple already makes its own A-series chips for the iPhone and the iPad, and there are also custom Apple chips in recent Macs -- the T2. The T2 chip, in the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini models, integrates several components including the system management controller, image signal processor, SSD controller, and a Secure Enclave with a hardware-based encryption engine. It powers the Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro and the Touch ID feature in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Apple is a major Intel customer, responsible for approximately five percent of Intel's annual revenue, so the transition to ARM-based chips will be a major blow for Intel, but a win for customers in the long run. Apple's modern A-series chips for iPhone and iPad are already more powerful than many Intel chips on the market.

Tag: Intel

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Intel Names Robert Swan CEO Following Reports That Apple’s Johny Srouji Was a Candidate

Intel today announced that it has appointed Robert Swan as its new CEO, ending the chipmaker's long search for a new leader.


Swan had served as Intel's interim CEO since Brian Krzanich resigned seven months ago after violating the company's non-fraternization policy. Early reports indicated Swan was not interested in the role on a permanent basis, but he has evidently changed his mind and will remain in the position.

Apple's chipmaking chief Johny Srouji was reportedly on Intel's list of candidates, but he was apparently not interested in the job.

Swan joined Intel in October 2016 as CFO.


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Johny Srouji Reportedly Staying at Apple, Not in the Running for Intel CEO

Following a report last week that Apple's chipmaking chief Johny Srouji was on Intel's list of candidates for CEO, The Motley Fool's Ashraf Eassa says that Srouji has informed his team that he will be staying at Apple.


Eassa, who follows Intel very closely, has offered no other details on the situation, so it's unclear whether Srouji was never seriously considered, withdrew his name, or was passed over as Intel narrowed its list.


Srouji spent over a decade at Intel from 1993 to 2005, bookended by a couple of brief stints at IBM. He joined Apple in 2008 to lead development of Apple's custom A-series chips starting with the A4 that appeared in the iPhone 4.

Since late 2015, Srouji has been a member of Apple's senior executive staff, reporting directly to Tim Cook and overseeing Apple's custom work on batteries, application processors, storage controllers, sensors silicon, display silicon, and other chipsets.


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Apple’s Chipmaking Chief Johny Srouji Reportedly on Intel’s List of Potential CEOs

Intel has been searching for a new CEO since Brian Krzanich resigned nearly seven months ago, and Axios now reports that Intel's list of potential successors includes Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies at Apple.


Srouji joined Apple in 2008 to lead development of the A4 chip, the first Apple-designed system on a chip in the iPhone 4, and now oversees custom silicon and hardware technologies including batteries, application processors, storage controllers, sensors silicon, and other chipsets across Apple's entire product line.

It's unclear if Srouji is interested in leading Intel, where he worked between 1990 and 2005 in both his native Israel and the United States, according to his LinkedIn profile. Srouji also worked at IBM between 2005 and 2008.

Apple's custom A-series chips lead the mobile industry in terms of performance, so losing Srouji would certainly be a major blow for the iPhone maker, although the company obviously has a larger team of engineers working on the silicon. Back in 2017, Srouji said his team was already working on chips for 2020.

Apple is rumored to use an Intel wireless chip in its first 5G-capable iPhone in 2020.


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Intel Unveils Next-Generation ‘Sunny Cove’ Processors and Graphics Appropriate for 2019 Macs

Intel today introduced Sunny Cove, its next-generation processor microarchitecture designed to increase performance and power efficiency.


Sunny Cove microarchitecture, built on a 10nm process, will be the basis for Intel's next-generation Core and Xeon processors later next year according to the company, making them appropriate for potential 2019 models of the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and Mac mini.

Intel also unveiled new Gen11 integrated graphics with up to double the performance of its Gen9 graphics paired with Skylake-based processors. Gen11 graphics will support 4K video streams and 8K content creation in constrained power situations and feature Intel's Adaptive Sync technology for smoother gaming.

Intel did not provide a comparison of Gen11 and Gen10 graphics, paired with Cannon Lake-based processors.

For those who are ever-confused by Intel's roadmap, it is believed that Sunny Cove processors paired with Gen11 graphics will be called Ice Lake, which succeeds Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake, Amber Lake, and Cannon Lake.

Intel reaffirmed its plan to introduce a discrete graphics processor by 2020, providing Apple with another option beyond its current provider AMD and former provider Nvidia for future MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro models.

Intel has essentially been iterating on its Skylake microarchitecture since 2015, so it is refreshing that the chipmaker is finally moving on to something new. But with rumors of Macs switching to custom ARM-based processors as early as 2020, it might not be long after Sunny Cove that Apple moves on too.

Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iMac Pro

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Intel Says 10nm Chip Development is On Track

Responding to claims earlier this morning that it had ended development on its 10nm "Cannon Lake" processors, Intel announced on Twitter that it is "making good progress" on its upcoming 10nm chips.

The announcement followed a claim from SemiAccurate suggesting Intel had killed off its 10nm process. Intel's 10nm chips were supposed to launch at some point in 2016, but have been delayed multiple times due to production difficulties.

According to Intel, yields on its 10nm process are improving "consistent with the timeline" shared during the last earnings report, which means sans additional delays, the chips will come out in 2019.


Apple uses Intel chips in its line of Mac desktops and notebooks, and Intel's delays have caused problems for the Cupertino-based company in recent years.

As a result, Apple is said to be planning to transition away from Intel chips to its own custom-designed chips as soon as 2020 or 2021, using supplier TSMC as a manufacturer.

With custom-designed Mac chips, Apple will no longer be forced to delay updates due to Intel's manufacturing issues, and custom chips will give the company more control over design, better profits, and a way to differentiate its products from competing PCs.

Apple has long used Apple-designed A-Series chips in its iOS devices, and the marriage between hardware and software often results in performance that is unmatched by competing products. Similar gains could come when Apple has more control over Mac chip design as well.

Apple won't be ready to transition to its own chips by 2019, and will likely adopt the 10nm Cannon Lake chips from Intel provided those chips make their launch date. Cannon Lake chips will bring performance improvements, reduced power consumption, and support for faster, more efficient LPDDR4 RAM.

Tag: Intel

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Intel Announces 8th-Generation Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake Processors Suitable for MacBook and MacBook Air

Intel this afternoon officially debuted its new eighth-generation U-series "Whiskey Lake" and Y-series "Amber Lake" chips, which are designed for use in thin, light notebooks like the MacBook and the MacBook Air.

The new "Amber Lake" Y-series processors, which include the i7-8500Y, i5-8200Y, and the m3-8100Y, are successors to the current chips that Apple uses in the 12-inch MacBook lineup. Apple is working on updated 12-inch MacBook models set to come out this fall that could use the new Amber Lake processors.


Intel's new 15W U-series "Whiskey Lake" chips, which include the i7-8565U, i5-8265U, and i3-8145U, would be appropriate for a refreshed MacBook Air, and rumors have suggested that such a machine is perhaps in the works.

While details haven't been entirely clear, Apple is working on a followup to the MacBook Air that features a 13-inch Retina display, and if this machine uses chips similar to the chips that MacBook Air models have used for years, the new Whiskey Lake chips are suitable.

According to Intel, its new Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake chips "raise the bar for connectivity, performance, entertainment, and productivity." The U-series chips introduce support for integrated Gigabit Wi-Fi for up to 12-times faster connectivity speeds, support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speeds, and built-in support for voice services like Alexa and Cortana.


Intel says that compared to a 5-year-old PC, the new U-series processors offer two times better performance and double-digit gains in office productivity for everyday web browsing and content creation over previous-generation chips.

The high-end Intel Core i7 8565U processor enables Intel Thermal Velocity Boost for additional single core performance, while all the U-series chips offer 16 PCIe lanes, up from 12.

Using these new chips, 2 in 1 machines can last up to 16 hours on a single charge, while power optimized systems can last as long as 19 hours. Intel says "many systems" using the U-series chips will offer over 10 hours of battery life.

Intel's Y-series chips offer faster Wi-Fi and LTE capabilities and double-digit gains in performance compared to the previous-generation, enabling new, compact notebook designs with better battery life. The chips offer Gen 3 PCIe support for higher data transfer rates, along with NVMe PCIe x4 solid state drives.

Both the new Y-series and U-series chips are considered 8th-Generation, a designation that also includes Intel's previously-announced Kaby Lake Refresh processors.

Intel says that laptops and 2 in 1s powered by the new chips will be available starting this fall.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook
Tag: Intel

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Throttling in New i9 MacBook Pros Appears to be Due to Power Delivery Chip

A user posting on reddit and in the MacRumors forums has given a detailed account of their findings and attempts to circumvent the throttling previously discovered on the new MacBook Pro 15" models featuring the six-core i9 Intel CPUs.

The user goes on to explain that one of the internal power limits set for the device may not be appropriate for the power draw of the CPU and identical to previous MacBook Pro models, causing the power delivery chip (known as a voltage regulation module, or VRM) to report an over power condition that forces the clock of the CPU down to scale back power. This sets up the same conditions to allow throttling to occur once again.

These conditions may be presenting themselves due to the new six-core design of the i9 CPU featured here. While Intel increased the core count of the CPU, they did not increase the thermal design power (TDP), or the amount of dissipated power manufacturers should plan to have to cool for a proper CPU design. This is an issue because this number usually reflects normal usage, and does not account for turbo modes. It's also likely it can exceed the draw of previous four core CPUs given the similarity of clock speeds and process nodes they are featured on.

A method for tuning this limit is provided in the post, but it requires executing a command manually or via script each time the computer boots, and would likely void the warranty if Apple technicians discovered it. Still, the user posts results of benchmarks showing successive runs with no throttling. Manufacturers will always quote likely reduced component lifetimes if used outside of their specifications, but the results appear stable, and there is no thermal throttling of the CPU, the original suspected cause of this issue.

This fix will not address total system power draw becoming excessive, such as long sustained loads from the CPU and GPU, but it is possible Apple could issue a fix similar to the one outlined in the reddit post that is stable.

As for whether this issue is related to the hardware design of the MacBook Pro, that is possible as well. While iFixit's complete teardown of the current 15-inch MacBook Pro is not yet available, the previous teardown reveals significant differences in the VRM chips that power the GPU and CPU of the device.

GPU power components

The GPU power components seen above are on the top side of the logic board near the GPU die, and thermal grease can be seen on the components, indicating that they interface with the heatsink in the device. This is in contrast to the same components for the CPU, which are featured on the rear side of the logic board with no thermal interface to the top of the package, as seen below.

CPU power components

Additionally, the publicly available data sheets for these parts indicate more differences that suggest their thermal profiles will be different. The International Rectifier part for the GPU features a lower thermal resistance, meaning it can better dissipate its heat to the surrounding areas (board, air, heatsink) than the Intersil part for the CPU. Additionally, it boasts a higher power efficiency, meaning it dissipates less power itself to deliver the same amount of power as the Intersil part.

Along with the heatsink path provided for the IR parts, it's clear they will not be capable of driving the same amount of load in any sustained mode. This makes sense given GPUs can see high loads for longer periods, but this could be an area of improvement for future MacBook Pro models from Apple, especially since it has typically chosen GPUs with very similar thermal design power limits (TDPs) to the CPUs in its MacBook Pro line.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tag: Intel
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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