Qualcomm Hints at Apple's Switch to Intel for LTE Modems in iPhone 7

Intel-iPhone-6sQualcomm shares are currently trading lower after the chip maker suggested during an earnings call Wednesday that it will be losing orders from one of its major customers to one of its leading competitors.

Analysts believe that customer will be Apple, according to Bloomberg, following rumors that the Cupertino-based company will rely on Intel to supply the majority of LTE modems for the iPhone 7, which is expected to be announced at a media event this September.

Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf told analysts he is “assuming” that a major customer will give orders to a rival, indicating a potential loss of business for the company. […] Samsung already uses multiple suppliers, leaving only Apple to make this change.

In early March, CLSA Securities analyst Srini Pajjuri issued a research note claiming that Intel has secured a "significant portion" of LTE chip orders from Apple, likely in the range of 30 to 40 percent of production. Pajjuri believes Qualcomm will likely be tasked with at least a portion of the remaining orders.

Intel reportedly has 1,000 or more employees working on preparing its 7360 LTE modem for the next-generation iPhone. Intel's 7360 LTE modem chip [PDF] features faster theoretical downlink speeds up to 450 Mbps, uplink speeds up to 100 Mbps, and support for LTE category 10 and 29 LTE bands overall.

The switch to Intel LTE chips means the iPhone 7 could have even faster LTE speeds for browsing the web, downloading apps, streaming video, and other data-related tasks. Apple already improved LTE speeds on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus by adopting LTE-Advanced, which pushed downlink speeds up to a theoretical max of 300 Mbps.

Apple currently sources all of its LTE modems for iPhones from Qualcomm, including the MDM9635 chipset in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which provides theoretical downlink speeds up to 300 Mbps and uplink speeds up to 50 Mbps. Qualcomm has been Apple's exclusive supplier of LTE modems for over three years.

Rumors suggest that Apple may eventually create an all-in-one system-on-a-chip that includes both an A-series processor and an LTE modem chip for improved speed and power management. Intel could play a key role in licensing and fabricating the chipset based on its advanced 14-nanometer process.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
iPhone 16 Pro Front Update Blue

iPhone 16 Pro Rumored to Support 40W Fast Charging and 20W MagSafe

Wednesday July 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 40W wired fast charging and 20W MagSafe charging, claims a rumor currently swirling around China. Right now, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of up to 27W peak charging speeds with an appropriate USB-C power adapter, while official MagSafe chargers from Apple and authorized third parties can wirelessly charge...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Beta Firmware With Support for iOS 18 Features

Tuesday July 9, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released a second beta firmware for the AirPods Pro 2, including both the Lightning and USB-C versions. The updated firmware has a build number 7A5244b and it is available to developers at the current time. This is the second firmware update that Apple has released since announcing new AirPods Pro 2 features in June. There are several new features that are coming to the AirPods...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

iPhone 16 Models Rumored to Have Face ID-Related Design Changes

Tuesday July 9, 2024 9:15 am PDT by
iPhone 16 models coming later this year could have some Face ID-related "design changes," supply chain publication DigiTimes said this week. The original source of this information is British newspaper The Telegraph, which six weeks ago reported that Face ID component supplier Coherent was considering selling or repurposing a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, a small town in...
orka desktop

MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software

Wednesday July 10, 2024 6:55 am PDT by
Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel. Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls....

Top Rated Comments

milan03 Avatar
107 months ago
Intel 7360 modem is literally comparable to what Qualcomm was shipping back in 2014.
2016 is the year when mobile operators will start launching 4x4 MIMO doubling the maximum throughput, 256 QAM, and Intel 7360 can do none of that.

Current Qualcomm modem being shipped in volume is X12 (part of Snapdragon 820 SoC), which is already Category 12, doing 600Mbps peak rates, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, etc.

Later this year, around the time iPhone 7 will presumably launch, they'll be shipping X16 modem capable of 1Gbps on the downlink, more efficient than X12, and not even in the same conversation with 7360.

Sometimes decisions like this completely boggle my mind...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ValSalva Avatar
107 months ago
That's odd, Intel just announced a 12,000 person layoff.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Thunderhawks Avatar
107 months ago

Qualcomm will likely be tasked with at least a portion of the remaining orders.
So, technically they are still chipping in here and there.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
107 months ago
Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!
You should pick up the phone and give Tim Cook and his staff a piece of you mind. Because I'm sure they're just trusting what Intel has told them, have not evaluated any first silicon devices, and forgot to think about scheduling.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TallManNY Avatar
107 months ago
Theoretical speeds are nice but connections are still degraded in many areas when you go into a building in NYC. Carriers in U.S. still have a lot of work to do to bring full and robust LTE to major metropolitan areas.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
107 months ago
Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!
Intel has been working for almost two years to build up their modem team. Just because you are hearing rumors now doesn't mean there will be delays.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/10/iphones-will-ship-with-intel-lte-chips-inside-in-2016/
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/96372/20151017/apple-ditches-qualcomm-hires-intel-to-work-on-lte-modem-chips-report.htm
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)