Intel modems may be in up to half of next-gen iPhone shipments, analyst estimates

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
Chipmaker Intel may have won as much as half of the orders for modems in Apple's next-generation iPhones shipping this fall, an analyst with Northland Capital Markets claimed on Wednesday.




Apple has been considering an Intel modem "for a while," according to Gus Richard, who didn't identify a specific chip in an investor memo. In March a report sugested that Apple would use Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem, but only in 2016 and for markets like Asia and Latin America.

Assuming a 50 percent order share, Richard suggested that Intel could generate an extra $750 million to $1.25 billion in revenue during 2016.

"This is a marque win for Intel and would go a long way to reducing the mobile business losses," he wrote.

Although Intel is an overwhelming force when it comes to desktop, laptop, and server processors, the growth of smartphones and tablets has undermined it financially. Most smartphones are based on processors with ARM architecture, including the iPhone, although Apple performs heavy customization to suit its needs.

Modem production is likely well underway for upcoming iPhone models. Apple may announce the new devices as soon as September 9, and launch them later in the month -- typically, the company needs between one and two months of non-stop manufacturing to build up launch stock.

It's still uncertain whether there are only two new models planned -- commonly referred to as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- or if Apple is also working on an iPhone 6c, which might potentially revive the 4-inch display size used for the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20

    When is Apple going to make an investment into Intel? Start getting Intel to fab all their chips, get early access to their new 3D memory and also their cellular modems?

     

    I've heard some people say Apple should just buy Intel, but they don't need to. Just make some kind of deal and put a few billion into capex to expand their capacity.

  • Reply 2 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,820member

    I think Intel is the only other serious competitor to Samsung in terms of bleeding-edge chip technology and fabrication capabilities.  I'd love for Apple to use Intel-tech like memory, controllers, and to even product Apple's Ax chips.

  • Reply 3 of 20

    Not sure how it can be 50% Has Apple ever used modems from two different suppliers for the same phone models?

  • Reply 4 of 20
    When is Apple going to make an investment into Intel? Start getting Intel to fab all their chips, get early access to their new 3D memory and also their cellular modems?

    I've heard some people say Apple should just buy Intel, but they don't need to. Just make some kind of deal and put a few billion into capex to expand their capacity.

    Corporate pride. Intel doesn't want to fab someone else's designs.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    [quote]Although Intel is an overwhelming force when it comes to desktop, laptop, and server processors[/quote]

    But not game consoles :)
  • Reply 6 of 20
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    It's not a marquee win for Intel. It's a shot at Ericsson and the LTE lawsuit going on with Apple.

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2015/02/ericsson-goes-nuclear-against-apple-filing-7-patent-infringement-lawsuits-against-apple-with-more-to-follow.html

    Intel is being used as a buffer. Intel will gladly take the business while Ericsson will now have to sue Intel and I doubt they'll do it.

    It's all about the FRAND.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    Corporate pride. Intel doesn't want to fab someone else's designs.

     

    Nothing like billions of dollars in extra revenue to make one question their "pride". Intel could provide everything for Apple: processors, RAM, flash storage, modems and even other misc chips. All the while providing Apple with better security against potential copycats.

  • Reply 8 of 20
    ralphmouth wrote: »
    Not sure how it can be 50% Has Apple ever used modems from two different suppliers for the same phone models?

    I think Apple may have when they first added Verizon to their choice of carriers.
    When is Apple going to make an investment into Intel? Start getting Intel to fab all their chips, get early access to their new 3D memory and also their cellular modems?

    I've heard some people say Apple should just buy Intel, but they don't need to. Just make some kind of deal and put a few billion into capex to expand their capacity.

    Corporate pride. Intel doesn't want to fab someone else's designs.

    There may be some of that, however Intel is used to making some serious profits on their own chips. With ARM they are just another vendor competing for Apple's business with razor thin margins. So making Ax chips would add a lot to Intel's sales but little to their bottom line. At present Intel brings nothing unique to the table for the mobile market to enhance the device's performance.
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post



    It's not a marquee win for Intel. It's a shot at Ericsson and the LTE lawsuit going on with Apple.



    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2015/02/ericsson-goes-nuclear-against-apple-filing-7-patent-infringement-lawsuits-against-apple-with-more-to-follow.html



    Intel is being used as a buffer. Intel will gladly take the business while Ericsson will now have to sue Intel and I doubt they'll do it.



    It's all about the FRAND.



    My initial thought about this rumor was, "Never gonna happen." The reason for the thought was due to Samsung having successfully sued Apple for use of Samsung technology in an Intel chip. Even though Intel had licensed the technology and was selling the chip to customers, every court in the USA Apple went to decided to agree with Samsung's claim that Apple had not taken out a license agreement with Samsung to use the technology. Apple should have been indemnified by Intel, but was not. It took the President of the United States to deny Samsung a victory of having Apple devices prevented from being imported into the USA.

     

    Teaming up with Intel to extricate itself from Ericsson would be nice, but not at the expense of having to deal with further lawsuits from Samsung, Ericsson or any other company wanting some of Apple $200+ billion and/or full access to Apple's patents.

     

    If Intel has licensed the use of another company's technology in Intel modem chips that might be used by Apple then I hope Apple has made it clear to Intel that Intel will indemnify Apple against lawsuits from greedy companies.

  • Reply 10 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    But not game consoles image

    But real gamers don't use consoles they use custom built overclocked intel based machines.

  • Reply 11 of 20
    patpatpat wrote: »
    But real gamers don't use consoles they use custom built overclocked intel based machines.

    Nope.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    afrodriafrodri Posts: 190member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    Corporate pride. Intel doesn't want to fab someone else's designs.

     

    That may have been the case in the past, but Intel has been chasing the custom foundry market recently. They are still in early days, but they do fab other's designs.

  • Reply 14 of 20
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member

    Quote:


    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    Corporate pride. Intel doesn't want to fab someone else's designs.

    Or not miss the gravy train again?

     

    http://www.cheatsheet.com/technology/intel-ceo-missed-the-iphone-gravy-train.html/?a=viewall

  • Reply 15 of 20

    Sorry, Intel already makes chips for others ( in partnership) Check: Itanium

  • Reply 16 of 20
    Are Intel's modems better than what Apple currently uses? Or are they about the same, but more competitive price-wise?
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    In less than two years the PS4 and One have sold over 50 million units, far surpassing any adoption rate of prior generations. 

    Over 100M Nintendo wii doorstops were sold, too, what's your point?

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



     Nobody cares about the stupid, arrogant, "PC master race".

    Game developers do and in a BIG way.  

  • Reply 19 of 20
    ksecksec Posts: 1,568member

    1. Intel has a division called Intel Custom Foundry, which produce chips for selected 3rd Party aka Altera and some other company not disclosed. It is not listed in the latest quarterly report so this may have been closed down now. 

     

    Quote:

     Sorry, Intel already makes chips for others ( in partnership) Check: Itanium


     

    You can hardly called Itanium make chips for others when Intel actually own the design as well and Fab it for themselves. Yes HP was involved but not to the point where it was similar to 3rd party. 

     

    Quote:

     Not sure how it can be 50% Has Apple ever used modems from two different suppliers for the same phone models?


    Apple used to use Infineon ( Which Intel acquired ), but since Qualcomm owns all the CDMA patents iPhone 4 Verizon model was the first to have a different Baseband from normal iPhone. And since then Qualcomm has won over all the iPhone Baseband design wins.

     

    Quote:

     Are Intel's modems better than what Apple currently uses? Or are they about the same, but more competitive price-wise?


    Possibly similar but it depends. Intel baseband has been facing delay after delay. Its latest baseband is ( sadly or stupidly ) being manufactured with TSMC 28nm. There are no words on whether 7360 will be Intel fabbed or not. But Given Intel SoFIA in 2016 will have its LTE inside as well as built on Intel 14nm, I suspect XMM7360 will be Intel 14nm as well.

    And if that is the case the Intel's Modem will definitely be more price competitive, since Intel controls the Fab and they have far too many 14nm capacity to move. And It will likely be low power as well given its node advantage.

     

     

    There are lots of Software involved in DSP, and Modem Baseband. Much like GPU, to the point where designing the Hardware isn't the hardest part, but actually getting the Drivers working, and working well requires lots of Engineering time. So the most common Baseband will have the advantage of being most tested with and most tested against ( Qualcomm ). As far as I know, Intel, Samsung, and Mediatek all uses CEVA's DSP and IP for their 4G baseband. So i am sure this has been battle tested to the point where it is save to use for Apple.

     

    ( But Why Apple still does not make their own Baseband when Samsung and even Mediatek could do is something I could not comprehend ) 

  • Reply 20 of 20
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by ksec View Post

     

    1. Intel has a division called Intel Custom Foundry, which produce chips for selected 3rd Party aka Altera and some other company not disclosed. It is not listed in the latest quarterly report so this may have been closed down now. 

     

    ( But Why Apple still does not make their own Baseband when Samsung and even Mediatek could do is something I could not comprehend ) 


     

    I hear Intel's custom foundry is still in business, however small.  But they don't offer the same cutting edge nodes for customers.

     

    Why would you expect Apple to make their own baseband?  Has Apple historically done this?  From what I understand, Apple didn't even have much chip design expertise until it acquired PA-Semi and Intrinsity in 2008 and 2010. It cost them nearly a $1B in acquisition alone and took them years to develop their first AP.  Further, it still outsources its GPUs from Imgtech. Qualcomm on the other hand makes their own SOC -- the core (and/or) GPU and baseband. 

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