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Report: Intel iPhone components on shaky ground with Apple

Intel has reportedly lost a slot in Apple’s 2020 mobile products

Apple has informed Intel that Apple will not be using Intel’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth products in its 2020 mobile devices, says a new report from Calcalist, a financial news website based in Israel. The report said Intel is dropping production of “Sunny Peak,”  a component it was designing specifically for Apple, and putting the Sunny Peak team to work on other projects.

The Calcalist article said it had access to internal Intel communications about Sunny Peak’s fate and Apple’s rejection of the chip. Calcalist admits, however, that it originally mischaracterized Sunny Peak as having 5G connectivity—so while Intel may have have lost out on the coveted Wi-Fi and Bluetooth spots within 2020 iPhones, that doesn’t necessarily speak to Apple’s supplier choice on 5G components.

For its part, Intel said that its 5G plans haven’t changed.

“Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects,” said Intel in response to the report.

Having a slot in an Apple product is a huge win for any company—likewise, missing out on the slot will be a blow. However, it is unclear yet if Intel really is missing out on the slot. Especially where Apple is concerned, suppliers are under strict non-disclosure agreements and can’t talk openly about agreements with the device maker, and Apple has yet to weigh in publicly on the press reports.

Intel rival Qualcomm declined to comment on the Calcalist report and what it might mean for Qualcomm’s relationship with Apple.

With the direct intervention of President Trump earlier this year, Qualcomm withstood a hostile takeover attempt waged by rival Broadcom, but the San Diego, Calif.-based chipmaker is still very much at a transition point. Looking to diversify its vertical focus, Qualcomm is pushing reluctant NXP shareholders for an acquisition; years of R&D into standard-essential 5G technologies is on the cusp of paying off; and major buyer Apple wants the court system to weigh-in on how Qualcomm calculates the price of its intellectual property used in building iPhones.

To the dispute with Apple, company CEO Tim Cook summarized his position earlier this year on an call with investors: “The reasoning that we’re pursuing this is that Qualcomm’s trying to charge Apple a percentage of the total iPhone value. And they do some really great work around standards-essential patents, but it’s one small part of what an iPhone is. It’s not – it has nothing do with the display or the Touch ID or a gazillion other innovations that Apple has done. And so we don’t think that’s right, and so we’re taking a principled stand on it. And we strongly believe we’re in the right, and I’m sure they believe that they are. And that’s what courts are for.”

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