The next iPhone could ship with an Intel-made LTE modem. According to a new report, Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem, unveiled along with the Cherry Trail and SoFIA Atom SoCs at MWC 2015, is being considered for inclusion in the next iPhone. The partnership may include Intel fabricating the Ax series SoC for Apple as well.
Intel has around a thousand employees or possibly more working on chips for the iPhone, the report by VentureBeat adds. Reports of the company looking to use Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem began appearing shortly after the chipset's unveiling in March.
All iPhone models currently being sold use Qualcomm's Gobi 9x45 LTE modem, which like Intel's XMM 7360 LTE chip, offers 3X carrier aggregation with up 60MHz in bandwidth on the downlink, capable of to LTE Advanced Category 10 speeds of 450Mbps downloads. The report adds Apple may side with Intel if the chipmaker continues to hit "product milestones" - it may also be eyeing the start of a partnership with Intel for fabricating its Ax series of SoCs, integrated with Intel's LTE modem technology.
Apple is reportedly looking at creating a system-on-a-chip, or SoC, that packs in the A-series processor as well as LTE modem chip. Intel is already on a 'front to back' 14nm process for its SoCs, unlike Samsung or TSMC, the report adds as another reason why Intel is seeming more attractive to Apple. The chipmaker's upcoming 10nm process could herald even better efficiency as well. Apple would design the SoC itself, and have Intel fabricate it alongside its LTE modem, the report ads.
The report adds Apple has been hiring Infineon (a mobile modem manufacturer Intel acquired in 2011) and Intel engineers for a while now. Sources tell the publication that Apple has been making trips to Intel's Infineon offices in Munich to collaborate with Intel for optimising the XMM 7360 LTE modem for the next iPhone models.
Intel, which dominates on the PC processor market, couldn't gauge the emerging mobile market and is still playing catch up with Qualcomm, which maintains a range of Snapdragon line of SoCs for smartphones that comes with integrated LTE modems. If Intel could rope in Apple as its LTE modem partner, and eventually fabricate its Ax series of SoCs, the company would