Apple to Use Intel Modems in AT&T iPhone 7, Qualcomm Modems for Verizon and China

Intel-iPhone-6sMultiple rumors have claimed that Intel will supply at least a portion of LTE and Wi-Fi modems for the iPhone 7 series, alongside existing supplier Qualcomm, and a new report offers a closer look at how the orders will be divided between the companies.

Bloomberg reports that Intel modems will be reserved for AT&T iPhone 7 models, and some other versions of the smartphone sold in other countries, while Qualcomm is said to remain a supplier of modems for Verizon and all Chinese models. The wording suggests that Qualcomm may retain orders in some other regions as well.

Choosing Intel’s part for an important role in the product that generates about two-thirds of Apple’s annual revenue may represent a calculated gamble by the company. Bringing in second-source suppliers is a long-established practice by device makers looking to make sure they’re in a better position to negotiate on price. However, analysts such as Stacy Rasgon at Sanford C. Bernstein have said that Qualcomm’s modems remain ahead of Intel’s offerings in performance when measured by how much data they can get from the network into the phone.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf previously hinted that the chipmaker would be losing modem orders from one of its major customers to one of its leading competitors, although it is reportedly still "retaining a major chunk" of Apple's business rather than being dropped as a supplier entirely.

Taiwanese website DigiTimes recently reported that Intel would supply "up to 50 percent" of modems for the iPhone 7 series, while CLSA Securities analyst Srini Pajjuri told investors in March that Intel's share of orders would be a "significant portion," likely falling in range of 30 to 40 percent of production.

Apple is rumored to use Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem [PDF] with faster theoretical download speeds up to 450 Mbps and upload speeds up to 100 Mbps. Meanwhile, Qualcomm's X12 modem is a likely candidate for the iPhone 7, with theoretical download speeds up to 600 Mbps and upload speeds up to 150 Mbps.

Both rumored Intel and Qualcomm modems would be capable of faster speeds than the MDM9635 chipset in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which provides theoretical download speeds up to 300 Mbps and upload speeds up to 50 Mbps. However, real-world speeds are often slower due to network limitations.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Xgm541 Avatar
69 months ago
So, this article is leading me to believe ATT will be an inferior product as opposed to the Verizon version. Is this what we are to take from it?
Yes. And this will mean that people will use anecdotal evidence to "prove" that there's a big difference between the two. In reality, the performance difference will probably be negligible, especially given the fact that speed is mainly limited by the tower capacity than the modem.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleFan91 Avatar
69 months ago
Oh man... This will be Samsung or TSMC all over again in the forums
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Goldfrapp Avatar
69 months ago
I guess no modem for T-mobile.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sherifhanna Avatar
69 months ago
You sure on that? I'd agree with you if people were getting moderately high speeds. We're talking about 450 mbps vs 600 mbps LTE modems. I haven't heard of any regions getting anywhere near that.

Yes, if you're nearing the peak (say, AT&T is delivering you 400), you might get better results with the 600, because you rarely get a perfect signal. But currently, the 2016 4G average is 9.9 Mbps.

Even if you're in a region getting 50 mbps peak, I don't think you're going to be affected. By the time we start hitting 200 mbps peaks and this might start to matter, the phone will likely be obsolete.

It's like debating whether 802.11n or 802.11ac will get you better speeds out of your 10 mbps internet connection. (Ignoring the range differences between those standards.)
Yes, I am 100% sure about that. Let me explain.

When it comes to LTE modems, the advertised peak speed is essentially short-hand for a bundle of underlying technologies.

For example, an LTE modem that supports 450 Mbps peak download speed (Cat 9) means that it features:

* Aggregating three LTE connections simultaneously
* Receiving data on two antennas simultaneously
* Enough signal processing horsepower to decode a max of 6 bits out of information out of every LTE transmission received from the tower.

On the other hand, a modem that support 600 Mbps peak download speed (Cat 12) means that in addition to all of the above, it can decode 8 bits out of every LTE transmission from the tower. It also supports features like receiving data on 4 antennas simultaneously instead of only 2.

Now, why do you as the user care?

Because receiving data on 3 connections simultaneously is faster than receiving on only one connection. The typical LTE smartphone has peak 150 Mbps LTE download speed, which is possible with only one LTE connection. Let's say that out of the 150 peak, you're getting 9.9 Mbps in the real world. Well, now let's say you have a modem with 450 Mbps peak. That 9.9 could become ~ 30 Mbps. Triple the actual real-world speed. And if you had a modem that went further by supporting the more sophisticated signal processing, that real-world speed gets an addition 33% boost, going from 30 Mbps to 40 Mbps.

So will you ever achieve those peak theoretical speeds? No. But what you will really get is the *relative gain*. That's the important thing here. These features are all speed multipliers, independent of what the absolute value of the speeds you're getting.

Here's a video that shows the effect of carrier aggregation - going from 110 Mbps to 220 Mbps peak on Sprint's network. Did the phone with carrier aggregation actually get 220 Mbps? No. But it did get twice the speed of the phone that doesn't support carrier aggregation.


And yes indeed, these feature are actually really launched in other networks around the world. Australia, South Korea, Japan...and they will indeed be launched in the US over the next year. How long does the average user keep their phone? Having these features built into the phone means that a year after purchase the phone gets better as the operators turn on those features in their networks. How many other technologies inside a phone get better with age instead of worse?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tigres Avatar
69 months ago
So, this article is leading me to believe ATT will be an inferior product as opposed to the Verizon version. Is this what we are to take from it?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
69 months ago
So where does that leave unlocked phones......uter confusion?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived last October in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
macbook air deals

Deals: Amazon Drops Price of 256GB M1 MacBook Air to New Low of $849.99 ($149 Off)

Friday August 27, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Amazon today introduced new low prices on the M1 MacBook Air for both 256GB and 512GB storage options. To start, you can get the 256GB model for $849.99, down from an original price of $999.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Only Silver and Gold are...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
ted lasso notchless phone

No, That Notchless iPhone Spotted in 'Ted Lasso' Isn't the iPhone 13

Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Recent sightings of a notchless iPhone in highly popular Apple TV+ comedy "Ted Lasso" have led to sensational headlines suggesting this is a canny bit of product placement on Apple's part and that the iPhone 13 will be notchless. In actuality – and this could go without saying – the phone in question is very likely just showing a poorly superimposed display added in post-production. Notchless ...