Intel's next iPhone cellular modem could completely replace Qualcomm chips

Posted:
in General Discussion
Intel has commenced manufacturing of modems that will reportedly be used in the 2018 iPhone refresh this fall, one that could be used across a wide variety of cellular communications technologies, and could eliminate the need for Apple to produce iPhone variants using Qualcomm modem chips.




The modem's production was confirmed by Intel vice president of technology, systems architecture, and client group Asha Keddy toNikkei Asian Review last week. "XMM 7560 [modems are] now in the process of being deployed," advised Keddy. "It is in trial and mass production."

The Nikkei Asian Review has a very poor track record for predicting Apple's future product plans. However, AppleInsider independently confirmed on Friday morning that the XMM 7560 modems are in mass production.

Intel's XMM7560 modem chip is part of Intel's push for so-called 5G communications, with it being the company's first to achieve download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. Acknowledging that it has been behind rivals like Qualcomm for some time, Keddy insists "I believe we've caught up and later we want to lead in 5G."

The modem is declared a "milestone" for Intel by Keddy, as it supports code division multiple access (CDMA), a communications technology used by some carriers including Verizon and Sprint. The majority of other carriers use GSM for communications instead of CDMA, causing smartphone producers to create multiple variants of their devices for each network.

By creating a modem that supports both communication technologies, Intel has effectively produced a modem chip that is compatible with almost all mobile networks around the world, eliminating the need to produce carrier-specific smartphones that work with their networks.

The modem also gives Apple the opportunity to switch completely to Intel for modems used in the iPhone and iPad. Currently, Intel and rival chip producer Qualcomm produce modems that are used in Apple's flagship products.

Despite the new modem entering production, a supply chain report from April claims Qualcomm will continue to provide modems for this year's iPhone refresh, but supplying a reduced 30 percent of the modems while Intel will supply 70 percent. It is speculated that Apple is trying to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm for chips, and could wean itself off the supply by 2019.

Earlier speculation from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in February suggested Intel's modems could completely replace Qualcomm versions for this year's iPhone models.

Apple certainly has an incentive to move away from Qualcomm, as the companies are currently fighting in court, with Apple accusing Qualcomm of withholding close to $1 billion in promised payments in one suit from early 2017. The funds are alleged to be held in retaliation for "responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies," namely Apple's cooperation with a South Korean antitrust investigation that led to Qualcomm being fined $853 million, and a similar probe from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

While Apple stopped paying royalties until the litigation is settled, Qualcomm has retaliated by claiming Apple is using the courts to secure better pricing for components, as well as alleging Apple had infringed on the chip producer's patents.

Three crucial hearings over the matter are set to take place in the U.S., Germany, and China in the near future, with the results potentially determining the fortunes of both companies in the many ongoing lawsuits between the two firms across six countries.
ronn
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    racerhomie3ClarityToSeeronnanton zuykovwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 25
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?



    I would say "maybe using anti-competitive practices in the market wasn't such a good idea."
    aaronsullivannunzyClarityToSeeronnanton zuykovLordeHawkmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobramattinozjony0
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Koll3manKoll3man Posts: 29member
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    nunzymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 25
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Perhaps they'll (QC) sue Intel as well? After all someone has to pay them for using their patents
    nunzymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 25
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,032member
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Who else makes mobile phone modems other than Qualcomm and Intel? Not counting China-only modems. I don't believe anyone else makes CDMA modems other than Qualcomm, at least not until Intel comes out with one. You can say Qualcomm makes the best modems but they appear to have cornered the market, legally or illegally. 
    nunzyronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Exactly, I had the iphone 7 on AT&T and that modem was pure trash, then it got worse, I swtiched to T-Mo and the iphone 8 was so useless picking up signal compared to my Note 8 and now LG G7, what a joke that modem is. 
    nunzy
  • Reply 7 of 25
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 442member
    Grumble, grumble....these chips do more than just cell signals, they also provide GPS positioning and I've found that the Intel chips (at least up to this point in time) provide much poorer results than Qualcom.   Going forward I would hope that Intel would spend some efforts on improving this, as AR/VR will demand very high location accuracy.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    ssartorssartor Posts: 1member
    Wonder what bands this will support. Specifically, TMobile is rolling out Band 71 (600MHz); am hoping that the new iPhones later this year will support this.
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    dee_deedee_dee Posts: 19member
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    How do you know they are the best?  Qualcomm has a monopoly and blocks competitors with patents.  That does not exactly breed cutting edge designs. 
    racerhomie3ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,106member
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Keep telling yourself that. No one cares. Ooh I cannot get ‘that extra 5megabit’ .
    Most people don’t also buy the iPhone ‘because FaceID is 3 years ahead , or A9 uses NVMe SSD controller 
    edited June 2018 ronnwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Keep telling yourself that. No one cares. Ooh I cannot get ‘that extra 5megabit’ .
    Most people don’t also buy the iPhone ‘because FaceID is 3 years ahead , or A9 uses NVMe SSD controller 

    Why are people spreading non-knowledge. Its not about teh megabites, its about receiver sensitivity. As the radio receiver front-end is more sensitive (which Qualcomm achieves to a high degree, about 10 dBm more sensitive (which is HUUUUUGE) than Intel modems in iPhone 8 AFAIK) the baseband processor can work with weaker signals. Intel modems are shit in this respect. I can only agree to what Koll3man had to say. Actually iPhone 8 feels like downgrade compared to iPhone 6 when I first went online with cellular data.
    edited June 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 25
    ClarityToSeeClarityToSee Posts: 34unconfirmed, member
    Koll3man said: Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Qualcomm delivering 1GB modem for a 150MB LTE phone isn’t all that much of a difference maker, when Intel delivers close enough. Doing the right thing and preventing scrupulous pricing by a scrupulous company like Qualcomm is more important.
    edited June 2018 watto_cobraracerhomie3
  • Reply 13 of 25
    Phobos7Phobos7 Posts: 16member
    Will be a great boon for Intel. Relatively, the stock is still cheap.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    ...with the results potentially determining the fortunes of both companies...
    A little inflammation on the rhetoric at the very end.

    Nevertheless, while Qualcomm's fortunes are indeed very much tied to those courts hearings, Apple's are not. Partisanship notwithstanding, it is fundamentally a good thing to see Qualcomm on the ropes for the dubious licensing practices that it was allowed to enforce over so many years!
    edited June 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 25
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    You bet Qualcomm thought about these scenarios before battling in court. If Apple would be at fault (or partially), Qualcomm should not avoid litigation because Apple happens to be a client. That would be a very unhealthy relationship.
    If you strongly believe you are right, you should stand up for your rights. This is not about being an Apple fan or not. 

  • Reply 16 of 25
    nhtnht Posts: 4,461member
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    You bet Qualcomm thought about these scenarios before battling in court. If Apple would be at fault (or partially), Qualcomm should not avoid litigation because Apple happens to be a client. That would be a very unhealthy relationship.
    If you strongly believe you are right, you should stand up for your rights. This is not about being an Apple fan or not. 

    This is like applauding the school bully for standing up for their right to take other kids lunch money.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,373member
    It’s good that Qualcomm will get some competition, but as others hav alluded go above, it depends on the quality of the modem. If it is slower, has poorer sensitivity, or is too power hungry then it won’t be nearly as much of a game changer. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 25
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,106member
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Keep telling yourself that. No one cares. Ooh I cannot get ‘that extra 5megabit’ .
    Most people don’t also buy the iPhone ‘because FaceID is 3 years ahead , or A9 uses NVMe SSD controller 

    Why are people spreading non-knowledge. Its not about teh megabites, its about receiver sensitivity. As the radio receiver front-end is more sensitive (which Qualcomm achieves to a high degree, about 10 dBm more sensitive (which is HUUUUUGE) than Intel modems in iPhone 8 AFAIK) the baseband processor can work with weaker signals. Intel modems are shit in this respect. I can only agree to what Koll3man had to say. Actually iPhone 8 feels like downgrade compared to iPhone 6 when I first went online with cellular data.
    No. 100s of million of people use the 6,7 & 8 . A major issue like that would have resulted in multiple lawsuits.Please keep the BS to yourselves. There are many factors in networking.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Exactly, I had the iphone 7 on AT&T and that modem was pure trash, then it got worse, I swtiched to T-Mo and the iphone 8 was so useless picking up signal compared to my Note 8 and now LG G7, what a joke that modem is. 
    Yeah except for the fact that the iPhone 7 was two years ago. Do you seriously believe that Intel has sat on its butt for that time?

    In my mind Qualcomm modems suck because I’ve had to deal with them on PCs and their drivers sucked, their signal sucked, and... well they just made my life hell getting them to do basic stuff.

    Sure Intel might not be good now but look what happened when Apple got in bed with them and released the Intel Macs. Intel got it right with the Core series processors and ended up blowing away AMD who at the time had the better processors. Now Apple has a vested interest in getting Intel up to spec so the modems today will be far better than the brand new modems Intel had two years ago.
    edited June 2018
  • Reply 20 of 25
    Koll3manKoll3man Posts: 29member
    Koll3man said:
    nunzy said:
    Bye bye, Qualcomm. Maybe suing Apple was a bad idea, eh?


    Yeah big win for Apple, not so much for future iPhone users but who cares Qualcomm makes the best mobile phone modems? These are just unimportant details.
    Keep telling yourself that. No one cares. Ooh I cannot get ‘that extra 5megabit’ .
    Most people don’t also buy the iPhone ‘because FaceID is 3 years ahead , or A9 uses NVMe SSD controller 
    LoL we are talking about 50% better modem performance on average. That's huge.
    In a crowded place for example, Qualcomm's modem simply trashes Intel's modems.
    So deny it all you want but your iPhone uses underwhelming modem tech.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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