The first iPhone 5G device is not expected to arrive until 2020, according to Fast Company. Fast Company’s sources also said that Intel is going to be the sole provider of modems for the first 5G iPhone. Specifically, the iPhone 5G is expected to have Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip.
To create the 8161 5G modem chip, Intel is planning to fabricate it with a 10-nanometer process. This would increase transistor density for providing faster speeds and efficiency. The 8161 would be the successor to the Intel 8060 modem chip, which will be used for testing the 5G iPhone.
It is believed that Apple has not been happy with the heat dissipation issues that are being caused by the 8060 modem chip though. Since wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T depend on the millimeter-wave spectrum (between 28 GHz and 39 GHz) to connect the first 5G phones, it requires quite a bit of power from modem chips. And this requires above average levels of thermal energy on the phone to the point where consumers can physically feel the heat and it negatively affects battery life.
But the issues that Apple is experiencing with Intel will not drive the Cupertino giant to engage with Qualcomm for its 5G modems. The Qualcomm X50 modem also has heat dissipation problems. And it certainly doesn’t help that Qualcomm is claiming that Apple is $7 billion behind on royalty payments. But Qualcomm is expecting to see the release of at least two 5G flagship devices by the end of 2019, which may be integrated into devices built by LG, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Sony, and Vivo.
There is a chance that Apple may work with MediaTek for 5G modem chips as a backup. But MediaTek generally makes components for lower-priced devices rather than flagship devices.
5G will bring high-speed connections to mobile devices. And some users may even see multiple gigabits per second download speeds.