Intel rumored to supply up to 50% of modems for Apple's 'iPhone 7'

Posted:
in iPhone
Intel will reportedly supply up to half of the cellular modem chips being used in Apple's "iPhone 7" and "7 Plus," expected to ship in September.




Although Intel will package the chips itself, it will be up to TSMC and King Yuan Electronics to actually manufacture them, sources explained to DigiTimes. The people didn't say who would be supply the rest of the modems, but that would presumably be Qualcomm, Apple's current partner.

Past rumors have suggested that Intel was looking to step into the Apple supply chain this year. Indeed, an October report claimed that Apple sent an engineering team to help optimize Intel's 7360 LTE modem.

That and DigiTimes's claim could match recent statements by Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, who in April said he was "assuming" a major client would be turning modem orders over to another firm. Apple and Samsung are Qualcomm's two biggest clients, but Samsung already uses multiple modem suppliers.

End users are unlikely to notice any difference between an Intel modem or one made by Qualcomm. Apple, though, may have work to do to ensure there's no substantial difference in terms of power consumption or network performance.

On Tuesday DigiTimes noted that Apple's suppliers are on track to ship "iPhone 7" models by the end of the third quarter. Assembly partners are said to include Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron, the last not having made any iPhones since the iPhone 5c.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    You guys need to stop using that picture. It looks gross..
    brian green
  • Reply 2 of 19
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Users will find a reason to complain about this. Look no further than the last release with two separate fabs of the A9. Users were first upset when they found they received the TSMC chip over the Samsung. Then, days later there was the report that the TSMC chip under certain conditions may perform slightly better than the Samsung chip. The boards were filled with dejected users, and threats of returns. 
    cornchipsingularitybrian greenai46
  • Reply 3 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Despite a few naysayers, this continues to gain credibility. I imagine that Intel continues to attempt to keep Apple as a customer, and is trying to gain more of their business
  • Reply 4 of 19
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,945member
    Nothing surprising. Intel(with Apple engineers) would not work relentlessly on modem chip for over last 2 years if Apple had no intention to use in near future iphone/ipad. I thought it would be in iphone SE but seems probably in iphone 7, time is right for the intel modem chip introduction. Good for Intel more revenue and Apple for diversifying modem chip set less dependent on Qualcomm.
    edited May 2016 melgross
  • Reply 5 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member

    End users are unlikely to notice any difference between an Intel modem or one made by Qualcomm. Apple, though, may have work to do to ensure there's no substantial difference in terms of power consumption or network performance.

    I suspect that there is more to the use of the Intel radio than meets the eye -- like the can't live without future Tim recently teased.

    edited May 2016 melgross
  • Reply 6 of 19
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member

    End users are unlikely to notice any difference between an Intel modem or one made by Qualcomm. Apple, though, may have work to do to ensure there's no substantial difference in terms of power consumption or network performance.

    I suspect that there is more to the use of the Intel radio than meets the eye -- like the can't live without future Tim recently teased.

    Or more than meets the ear? Do tell, seriously.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    flaneur said:

    End users are unlikely to notice any difference between an Intel modem or one made by Qualcomm. Apple, though, may have work to do to ensure there's no substantial difference in terms of power consumption or network performance.

    I suspect that there is more to the use of the Intel radio than meets the eye -- like the can't live without future Tim recently teased.

    Or more than meets the ear? Do tell, seriously.
    Actually, Mostly Eye and some Ear -- maybe even a little nose and throat :)

    Seriously!

  • Reply 8 of 19
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Good win for INTC
  • Reply 9 of 19
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    You guys need to stop using that picture. It looks gross..
    It has the greenish tint of a wrongly white balanced shot under fluorescent light.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    jony0jony0 Posts: 269member
    levi said:
    Users will find a reason to complain about this. Look no further than the last release with two separate fabs of the A9. Users were first upset when they found they received the TSMC chip over the Samsung. Then, days later there was the report that the TSMC chip under certain conditions may perform slightly better than the Samsung chip. The boards were filled with dejected users, and threats of returns. 
    I have a 6S and wondered which one I had. The performance difference is said to be small enough to be inconsequential, although I would prefer to have the TSMC chip if only for personal business ethics of its source. BTW anybody know how we could find out which one we have ? Is there a database out there ?
    That being said, it wasn't specified how the supply would be split, it could be between 7 and 7+, different countries because of LTE bands, or simply for supply redundancy as with many other components :
    It was also said that Apple has queued up multiple suppliers for the "iPhone 7" launch to reduce risks. At least two suppliers are on tap for many of the device's major components, including batteries, the report said.
    Suppliers gearing up to ship Apple's 'iPhone 7' by end of September
  • Reply 11 of 19
    ksecksec Posts: 1,554member
    There are a lot of small details that remains hard to figure out.

    The Intel 7360 modem, even the newer 74xx modem are still on TSMC. 7360 is 28nm. Although it could theortically move to 16nm by now, as the 28nm figure was from 2014.

    I have a hard time believing Intel modem are up to Qualcomm standard. So assuming Intel's are inferior, it would make sense to have them in iPhone 7 rather then the plus. Both for cost and features reason.

    But iPhone 7 , the smaller variant has historiacally been selling at 60%+, so that means Intel would have 60%+ of Apple's modem business.

    Or will it be as Simple as, Apple using both modem on all models, like the current Samsung and TSMC. But that is redicaouly hard, it is much harder and makes it even worst then TSMC / Samsung scenerio. 

    Or the Apple A10, which is pretty much confirmed to be on TSMC 16FFC plis InFO, will have the modem pacakaged on the SoC as well. Basically not allowing you to see which modem Apple are packaged with?
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    ksec said:
    There are a lot of small details that remains hard to figure out.

    The Intel 7360 modem, even the newer 74xx modem are still on TSMC. 7360 is 28nm. Although it could theortically move to 16nm by now, as the 28nm figure was from 2014.

    I have a hard time believing Intel modem are up to Qualcomm standard. So assuming Intel's are inferior, it would make sense to have them in iPhone 7 rather then the plus. Both for cost and features reason.

    But iPhone 7 , the smaller variant has historiacally been selling at 60%+, so that means Intel would have 60%+ of Apple's modem business.

    Or will it be as Simple as, Apple using both modem on all models, like the current Samsung and TSMC. But that is redicaouly hard, it is much harder and makes it even worst then TSMC / Samsung scenerio. 

    Or the Apple A10, which is pretty much confirmed to be on TSMC 16FFC plis InFO, will have the modem pacakaged on the SoC as well. Basically not allowing you to see which modem Apple are packaged with?

    The decisions may be based on the factors you mention -- but, instead, they may be service-related, rather than hardware-related.

    It is possible that Apple will [initially] rollout the Intel radio on new iPhones and iPads sold into a specific market,  for instance the US.

    The reasons behind this could be that:
    1. the Intel radio will allow iOS to best exploit new iCloud capabilities
    2. there are more iCloud server farms in the US
    3. there are fewer carriers to deal with if carrier-involvement is necessary to exploit the new iCloud capabilities

  • Reply 13 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    jony0 said:
    BTW anybody know how we could find out which one we have ? Is there a database out there ?
    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2015/10/08/how-to-check-samsung-tsmc-a9-iphone-6s/

  • Reply 14 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    ksec said:
    There are a lot of small details that remains hard to figure out.

    The Intel 7360 modem, even the newer 74xx modem are still on TSMC. 7360 is 28nm. Although it could theortically move to 16nm by now, as the 28nm figure was from 2014.

    I have a hard time believing Intel modem are up to Qualcomm standard. So assuming Intel's are inferior, it would make sense to have them in iPhone 7 rather then the plus. Both for cost and features reason.

    But iPhone 7 , the smaller variant has historiacally been selling at 60%+, so that means Intel would have 60%+ of Apple's modem business.

    Or will it be as Simple as, Apple using both modem on all models, like the current Samsung and TSMC. But that is redicaouly hard, it is much harder and makes it even worst then TSMC / Samsung scenerio. 

    Or the Apple A10, which is pretty much confirmed to be on TSMC 16FFC plis InFO, will have the modem pacakaged on the SoC as well. Basically not allowing you to see which modem Apple are packaged with?
    Just because someone has a hard time believing something doesn't mean it's not true. It's not likely that Apple would use these if they were inferior in actual performance. It's like the flap about the Samsung/TSMC debate. In reality, it doesn't matter which one you have.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    bravadubravadu Posts: 37member
    Well that's a thousand workers that Intel isn't laying off.  

    Supposedly Intel has laid off 12,000 workers in the first round with a second round to come.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,290member
    I guess we will find out what quality apples modems have in the new iPhones.
    We know Qualcomm modems have serious issues, enough to drive Apple to put serious effort in using Intels (nee Infinions) modems.
    It is likely Apple gained noting by this move (Intel bought a "kat in de zak" and Apple doesn't know it yet).
    Of course it isn't impossible that the product is improved in the meantime, but past experience make that very doubtful, I think in reality 'only when pigs can fly'.
    This will mean that maybe already next year we have a full blown Apple modem solution integrated in the A10 (comparable to the iPhone development we have Motorola to thank for).
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 17 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    knowitall said:
    I guess we will find out what quality apples modems have in the new iPhones.
    We know Qualcomm modems have serious issues, enough to drive Apple to put serious effort in using Intels (nee Infinions) modems.
    It is likely Apple gained noting by this move (Intel bought a "kat in de zak" and Apple doesn't know it yet).
    Of course it isn't impossible that the product is improved in the meantime, but past experience make that very doubtful, I think in reality 'only when pigs can fly'.
    This will mean that maybe already next year we have a full blown Apple modem solution integrated in the A10 (comparable to the iPhone development we have Motorola to thank for).

    IMO, the way this will roll out is:
    1. 2016 Devices:  Separate Intel Modem chip with Apple-specific capabilities
    2. 2017 Devices  Intel Modem integrated into Apple APUs
    And, I think the Devices include iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, AppleWatch and Macs.

  • Reply 18 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    knowitall said:
    I guess we will find out what quality apples modems have in the new iPhones.
    We know Qualcomm modems have serious issues, enough to drive Apple to put serious effort in using Intels (nee Infinions) modems.
    It is likely Apple gained noting by this move (Intel bought a "kat in de zak" and Apple doesn't know it yet).
    Of course it isn't impossible that the product is improved in the meantime, but past experience make that very doubtful, I think in reality 'only when pigs can fly'.
    This will mean that maybe already next year we have a full blown Apple modem solution integrated in the A10 (comparable to the iPhone development we have Motorola to thank for).
    Why do you keep saying this? What do you really know about these new intel modems? Anything?

    i remember very well when Jobs had a press conference and told us that they were moving to Intel. It was also hard to believe. After all, we all knew that the PPC was so superior. Except that Jobs knew things that we didn't. He was given information that most of the rest of the industry wasn't even given. You can't assume that the same thing isn't true here as well.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    melgross said:
    knowitall said:
    I guess we will find out what quality apples modems have in the new iPhones.
    We know Qualcomm modems have serious issues, enough to drive Apple to put serious effort in using Intels (nee Infinions) modems.
    It is likely Apple gained noting by this move (Intel bought a "kat in de zak" and Apple doesn't know it yet).
    Of course it isn't impossible that the product is improved in the meantime, but past experience make that very doubtful, I think in reality 'only when pigs can fly'.
    This will mean that maybe already next year we have a full blown Apple modem solution integrated in the A10 (comparable to the iPhone development we have Motorola to thank for).
    Why do you keep saying this? What do you really know about these new intel modems? Anything?

    i remember very well when Jobs had a press conference and told us that they were moving to Intel. It was also hard to believe. After all, we all knew that the PPC was so superior. Except that Jobs knew things that we didn't. He was given information that most of the rest of the industry wasn't even given. You can't assume that the same thing isn't true here as well.

    Not to mention that Intel and Apple have worked together on several occasions to include Apple-specific capabilities in Intel chips -- Thunderbolt and a PowerBook come to mind.  Eventually these capabilities become available to others, but Apple has the advantages of inside knowledge and a competitive lead time.

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