Intel on Monday announced its latest Intel XMM 8160 5G multimode modem which is aimed at providing 5G connectivity to devices including mobiles, PCs, and broadband access gateways. With support for peak download speeds of up to 6Gbps per second, this new Intel 5G modem will be made available in the second half of 2019 with commercial devices coming to market in the first half of 2020. The announcement appears to corroborate a recent report that claimed that Apple will stick to Intel cellular modems and will launch the first iPhone with a new 5G modem in 2020.
With its new single-chip multimode baseband capability, the new Intel XMM 8160 5G modem will allow device manufacturers to design smaller and more power-efficient 5G capable devices. It also eliminates the need of installing two separate modems for 5G and legacy connectivity. Intel's integrated multimode solution supports simultaneous connectivity (EN-DC) for LTE and 5G, allowing for backward compatibility to 4G if 5G networks are not available at any moment or location.
Other than that, Intel's XMM 8160 5G modem supports the new millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum alongside the sub 6GHz NR support with downloads speeds of up to 6Gbps. The modem has been designed by Intel to scale with global deployments.
A Fast Company report from earlier this month claimed that the first 5G-enabled iPhone from Apple is likely to use an Intel 8161 5G modem, possibly a successor to the one launched this week, and could hit stores in the first half of 2020. Intel is all set to become the sole provider of iPhone modems, if everything goes as planned. The report also states that the upcoming Intel 8161 5G modem will use a 10-nanometre process.
Other than that, many Android OEMs are expected to unveil 5G capable smartphones next year including OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi among others. Apple would thus be looking to step up its cellular game by launching the first 5G capable iPhone as soon as possible.