Corroborating earlier rumours claiming that Intel would enter the iPhone supply chain, Digitimes reports this morning that the chip maker has secured up to 50% of LTE chips for the iPhone 7. A report from March claimed Intel had secured 40% of LTE modem orders.
Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.
As reported earlier, Apple LTE chip supplier Qualcomm said it will be losing modem orders from one of its major customers to its competitor. Considering that Apple is one of Qualcomm’s major customers, this led to speculation that earlier rumours about Intel winning LTE modem orders from the iPhone maker may finally materialize this year.
Intel has a large team – about 1,000 employees – working on the 7360 LTE modem for the iPhone 7. The XMM 7360 modem is capable of download speeds of 450 Mbps and upload of 100 Mbps.
Chips manufactured by Intel may be targeting special markets such as iPhones manufactured for Asia and/or Latin America, as the chip supports Category 9/10 LTE and 3X carrier aggregation, some analysts suggest.