Apple to use Intel LTE modem chips for iPhone 7?
Some new reports suggest that Apple’s iPhones, that are being launched in 2016, presumably iPhone 7, will use wireless modem chips supplied by Intel instead of Qualcomm. Apple will reportedly use Intel 7360 LTE modem chip for next year’s iPhone 7 which will be sold in Asia’s and Latin America’s emerging markets. Currently both the Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus have Qualcomm 9X45 LTE chip inside them.
Intel found a place in Apple’s iPhone
Keeping in mind the importance of the chipmaker, Intel is going to assign a large number of its employees, at present 1000, onto this project. Unlike the way Intel has been dominating in the field of desktops, The Company struggles to dominate in the mobile industry. Also, Apple being a demanding company, it could require Intel to deploy as many people as it could to make sure that Apple’s wishes are well taken care of. Intel can take no risk here as it is a “must win” situation for it.
The Intel 7360 LTE modem chip features up to 450Mbps downlink and supports 29 LTE bands. Apple has allegedly been sending its engineers to Munich, Germany where the 7360 LTE chip was manufactured, to collaborate with the Intel engineers on the chip and optimize it for the iPhone 7. Earlier this year, it was rumored that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plus would have this LTE chip inside them. However this never happened and the speculation since then has been shifted to the iPhone 7.
Since Apple is looking for consolidating its SoC and modem chip on a single package, Intel is hence in thoughts about providing the foundry to build a new SoC for the future iPhone 7. Integrating the modem, processor and graphics together onto a single silicon chip could lead to better battery life, improved performance, reduced power consumption and faster speeds for iPhone owners. Apple would license the LTE modem technology from Intel, while also designing the SoC as it does now. Intel would build the SoC chip using its 14nm process.
Currently, Intel processors span over Apple’s desktops and laptops, including the Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines. It is going to be a huge leap for Intel getting into the Apple iPhones as well.