According to a new report from VentureBeat, Intel has a thousand of its employees preparing the Intel 7360 LTE modem for Apple’s next-generation iPhone.
Apple is rumoured to be switching to the Intel modem chip for some models of the iPhone 7, instead of using the standard Qualcomm chips that they have used for years. Intel’s 7360 LTE modem chip features download speeds up to 450MB/s and it supports 29 LTE bands.
Intel is eager to source a contract with Apple, which is why it has placed so many resources into the development of the chip, which is supposed to begin shipping later this year.
“One source said Intel needs a small army of people on the Apple account because of the importance of the project to Intel’s future in the mobile market, because of the complexity of the project, and because Apple is a demanding client with an extremely popular phone.
Our sources don’t believe Apple has officially signed Intel as a supplier of the modem chip, but a deal will happen if Intel continues to hit its project milestones.”
The LTE modem chips in the next-generation iPhone could be dual-sourced from both Intel and Qualcomm, with earlier rumours suggesting that devices in emerging markets like Asia and Latin America could use Intel’s chip.
Intel is not yet an official supplier for the modem chip, but if Intel is able to meet important milestones, they could be linking up a deal with Apple for the iPhone 7.
Should the work on the modem go well, VentureBeat says Intel could end up supplying Apple with both the chip and the fabrication for a new Apple system-on-a-chip (SoC). Apple is reportedly aiming to create a future SoC that includes both the iPhone’s Ax processor and the LTE modem chip for improved speed and power management.
To achieve that goal, Apple would designing the SoC, licensing the LTE modem intellectual property from Intel. Intel is currently developing the chip with its 14-nanometer process process, however, there are reports that Intel is also developing a 10-nanometer process that has caught Apple’s eye.
Apple’s integrated SoC project would likely be for a future iPhone, rather than the iPhone 7.