Intel Seeking to Woo Apple Away From Qualcomm for Cellular Baseband Chips

intel-logoIntel is hoping Apple will turn to the California company for the cellular baseband hardware in future mobile products, says Intel Korea President Lee Hee-sung in a statement reported by the Korea Herald. The baseband manages the radio functions of an iPhone or cellular-capable iPad, allowing the device to communicate with the carrier's mobile network.

"Chances are high that global smartphone makers such as Apple and LG Electronics will use Intel’s baseband chips in their products down the road,” said Lee Hee-sung, the president of Intel Korea, at a press meeting on Thursday.

Such collaborations are highly likely given that the world’s largest smartphone maker, Samsung Electronics, has recently announced its midrange premium handset the Galaxy Alpha, which contains Intel’s XMM7260 baseband modem."

Apple had originally used Infineon baseband hardware in early models of the iPhone, but after Infineon was purchased by Intel in 2010 Apple shifted to using communication chips from market leader Qualcomm. Intel has, however, been hard at work at improving its baseband chips, as evidenced by the design win in the new Galaxy Alpha.

Apple and Intel are of course already partners for the complete line of Mac processors, but Apple will undoubtedly focus on technology and pricing considerations in weighing any potential switch for its mobile products.

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Top Rated Comments

Nozuka Avatar
128 months ago
just choose the most energy efficient one...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SilianRail Avatar
128 months ago
Competition is a good thing...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Koodauw Avatar
128 months ago
Lead by example! If you want Apple so bad, then stop dragging your feet with Advancing processors ! Even Steve Jobs was beside himself with how slow Intel was delivering new processors! May we look now at the delays of Broadwell?? All Macs laptop and desktops are delayed with these "little" speed bumps! Get real!! Step up Intel!!! Then You get rewards!!

If you think the Intel updates are slow, you should of been around for the IBM/MOTO G5/G4 DAYS.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tiger8 Avatar
128 months ago
just choose the most energy efficient one...

my vote is for better reception
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deconstruct60 Avatar
128 months ago
Apple has the A chips (ARM) and the M chips (motion) in their phones. Now they need the B chip (Baseband). No Intel, No Qualcomm.
Apple didn't make or totally design the M7 (motion) chip.
"Chipworks found that the M7 most likely is a NXP LPC1800 based microcontroller called LPC18A1. ..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_M7
Apple just slapped a sticker/moniker on someone else's implementation. There is little to no evidence that isn't the same case with the M8 version. Apple has been buying the "motion" chip along with Baseband. Just different vendors.



Time to double down Tim.
Tim didn't double down on the M chip .... why would baseband be any different? There is extremely little upside to trying to suck it in. The broad and fragmented radio standards around the world Apple largely doesn't have to deal with. It is largely the suppliers problem. If Apple sucks that inside they will need to at least duplicate all that expertise. .... for what upside?

Apple still has a significant subset of iOS devices that have no celluar radios (Wifi iPads).

Apple has stayed ahead of the general ARM applicaiton processor race largely because they haven't distracted their team with anything else but doing the "best" iPhone/iPad SoC unit they can. No distraction on "server market" , no cover every device possible , no "put Intel out of business" distractions.

Even inside of their SoC they are buying shared R&D from ARM and Imagination Tech. There is little to no advantage to going entirely proprietary. It doesn't buy them a whole lot. Doing a good Cortex M3 (or newer) isn't the same thing as the high end A53 (or newer) design. Those are going in different directions.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
paul55br Avatar
128 months ago
Might be just me, but I believe Intel can take cellular chip to the next level. I hope Apple will start discussions with them to see where it leads.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)