The man was known to have been leading Apple’s charge into 5G has now joined Intel, leaving the former’s 5G plans in a lurch. Or maybe not since Apple too had poached one of key Intel engineers working on 5G modems prior to its settlement with Qualcomm.
In fact, Apple and Qualcomm reaching a truce has itself taken all by surprise. In any case, there also are reports of the forthcoming iPhone 5G using a modem from Qualcomm instead of Intel branded stuff.
If all of the above seems incredibly complex, that’s because things do stand like that at the moment. Rubén Caballero was charged with integrating modems in iPhones and dealing with suppliers for the modems needed for the purpose. He has also been spearheading R&D in this field and has featured in scores of Apple patents related to wireless technology.
However, that’s just half the story as another of Intel’s key man working on 5G modems, Umashankar Thyagarajan is now an Apple asset. Umashankar is known to be working at Intel for about a decade before the shift. He also isn’t revealing what his role would be at Apple, with his Linkedin profile revealing it only as ‘Architecture’. Needless to say, that should point to him designing chipsets.
Maybe Umashankar would be leading Apple’s efforts in developing the company’s own chip, something that Apple has really been focussed on doing for some time now. However, it could still be a few years before we get to see an iPhone reaching markets powered by its own in-house modem. This should mark a return of Qualcomm modems on iPhones right away, including the iPhone 5G modems expected to be out by 2020.
Intel meanwhile has stated they won’t be in the race to develop a 5G modem as the same wasn’t profitable any more. The company will however still be supplying some modems needs for iPhone devices though that’s likely to last just about a year or so.