Intel LTE modems to power AT&T version of Apple's 'iPhone 7' - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2016
Apple's next-generation handset will be a big win for chipmaker Intel, as the so-called "iPhone 7" series will reportedly ditch Qualcomm LTE modems for certain models, including AT&T in the U.S.




Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported on Friday that the AT&T "iPhone 7," along with some other models around the world, will use Intel modems. Presumably Intel's technology will be found in certain GSM models, as the report said the Verizon version, as well as handsets sold in China, will continue to use Qualcomm modems.

Friday's report throws weight behind a recurring rumor claiming that Intel could supply as many as 50 percent of the modems for Apple's next-generation iPhone. Both the "iPhone 7" and "iPhone 7 Plus" are expected to ship in September.

Last year, it was said that Apple sent an engineering team to Intel to help the company optimize its 7360 LTE modem for use in a future iPhone.

And Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopft said earlier this year he believed a major client would turn modem orders over to another firm.

Apple routinely uses multiple suppliers to diversify its supply chain. Doing so affords Apple the ability to meet significant demand for its products, while also achieving lower prices through competing component makers.

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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    Interesting!  I have to wonder if Apple ever intends to make their own solution.  
  • Reply 2 of 23
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    It'll be interesting to see the performance of the final product.
    Where I sit right now, I fluctuate between 2 and 3 bars of AT&T LTE service. Always. This was the case with iPhone 6, and now 6s.

    I wonder how that will improve, if at all, with a new Intel LTE modem, which seems to be pegged for specific GSM models.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 3 of 23
    wizard69 said:
    Interesting!  I have to wonder if Apple ever intends to make their own solution.  
    Apple bought a baseband chip company not too long ago, but I suspect they're focused on a chip for Watch. 
    slprescott
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Just like the move to Intel processors, this is Apple putting in the work to abstract modem functions. I.E. So they can move onto their own chips/others should it suit them. I imagine Qualcomm have had it "a bit sweet" up until now. I'm curious to see if basic performance(e.g. time to hang up) will improve and not just data rates or battery consumption.
    nostrathomas
  • Reply 5 of 23
    metrixmetrix Posts: 250member
    I still resent the fact the Intel subsidized manufactures to start making thin laptops like Apple immediately or they would lose huge market share. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 6 of 23
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    AT&T signal sucks at my house. 2 bars and slow. Uses up battery fast and drops FaceTime couple minutes into a call. The WiFi from my home office does not make it out to the back patio very well which is why I use cellular, but I wish it had a better signal. The original concept of cellular service called for many hexagonally positioned cell towers but due to expense, zoning and NIMBY, we ended up with few and far between towers, mostly along the interstate. Better modem, great, but what we really need is more towers. I am looking forward to 10 megabit 5G that AT&T is testing in Texas but if they don't put in more towers around Southern CA it will probably suck just as much as their LTE does when you are a couple miles away from the tower.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 7 of 23
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member

    There may be more to Apple using this combination of AT&T and Intel modem than meets the eye.  I would not be surprised if Intel customized their chip with some Apple-specific capabilities.  I suspect that AT&T will offer an interface to those Apple-specific modem capabilities that will exploit a new iCloud service offering (for both consumer and enterprise).

    edited June 2016
  • Reply 8 of 23
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,980member
    I smell another controversy brewing.  There will definitely be some testings done comparing the two modems.  
  • Reply 9 of 23
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,453member
    How come the iPads are able to combine AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon into one model?  Are they putting multiple modems in there?   The problem with multiple models is that it makes it very hard to switch phone vendors. 
    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 10 of 23
    I think this is a longer term win for both companies.  Intel begins its foundry business.  Apple brings up its US made components in its devices.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,280member
    I think this is a longer term win for both companies.  Intel begins its foundry business.  Apple brings up its US made components in its devices.
    Intel's foundry business, as you dream of it becoming, has an attic full of non-standard processes, per chip family that will guarantee it is generations behind their main competitors. It's one of the main reasons they gutted so many staff. They have to eat a ton of capital to fix it.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    metrix said:
    I still resent the fact the Intel subsidized manufactures to start making thin laptops like Apple immediately or they would lose huge market share. 
    That’s business. And the fact that Intel had to subsidize rather than take orders as they do with Apple’s i5/i7 etc. shows they’re on the losing end of that front.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    volcan said:
    AT&T signal sucks at my house. 2 bars and slow. Uses up battery fast and drops FaceTime couple minutes into a call. The WiFi from my home office does not make it out to the back patio very well which is why I use cellular, but I wish it had a better signal. The original concept of cellular service called for many hexagonally positioned cell towers but due to expense, zoning and NIMBY, we ended up with few and far between towers, mostly along the interstate. Better modem, great, but what we really need is more towers. I am looking forward to 10 megabit 5G that AT&T is testing in Texas but if they don't put in more towers around Southern CA it will probably suck just as much as their LTE does when you are a couple miles away from the tower.
    I have the same situation (both with T-Mobile and previously with AT&T) at my house because I’m between 2 towers. Call AT&T and tell them you have multiple devices that are fine outside, but inside drop to two bars or less, and ask them for a signal booster. It’s 2 boxes: one outside or on a window and one inside across the house. By establishing it’s multiple devices experiencing the problem and that it’s fine outside you will give them no reason to refuse them sending you a booster for free.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    I think this is a longer term win for both companies.  Intel begins its foundry business.  Apple brings up its US made components in its devices.
    What makes you think Intel will make the modems in the US? They have fabs and assembly sites around the world including China. They might make them in the US but then they would need to ship them to China anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    noivad said:

    Call AT&T and tell them you have multiple devices that are fine outside, but inside drop to two bars or less, and ask them for a signal booster. It’s 2 boxes: one outside or on a window and one inside across the house. By establishing it’s multiple devices experiencing the problem and that it’s fine outside you will give them no reason to refuse them sending you a booster for free.
    The problem is the cell signal is poor outside, almost nonexistent inside. I have to go outside to use the phone and even then it doesn't always work. And I'm in the middle of a densely populated suburb of LA. No excuse for such poor service in my opinion.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 357member
    volcan said:
    AT&T signal sucks at my house. 2 bars and slow. Uses up battery fast and drops FaceTime couple minutes into a call. The WiFi from my home office does not make it out to the back patio very well which is why I use cellular, but I wish it had a better signal. The original concept of cellular service called for many hexagonally positioned cell towers but due to expense, zoning and NIMBY, we ended up with few and far between towers, mostly along the interstate. Better modem, great, but what we really need is more towers. I am looking forward to 10 megabit 5G that AT&T is testing in Texas but if they don't put in more towers around Southern CA it will probably suck just as much as their LTE does when you are a couple miles away from the tower.
    Maybe a signal extender would help for your wifi. Or possible an upgrade to an 802.11ac router to improve performance and coverage.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,358member
    Some other things to consider, how fast and when does the baseband processor craps out.
    I think the main reason that Apple buys from Infineon (ahem Intel) is that Qualcomm chips crap out a lot.
    They hope it's different this time, but we, the consumer will find out.
    I expect it to be as crap as before and assume Apple will present its own solution in a year or two.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,895member
    volcan said:
    AT&T signal sucks at my house. 2 bars and slow. Uses up battery fast and drops FaceTime couple minutes into a call. The WiFi from my home office does not make it out to the back patio very well which is why I use cellular, but I wish it had a better signal. The original concept of cellular service called for many hexagonally positioned cell towers but due to expense, zoning and NIMBY, we ended up with few and far between towers, mostly along the interstate. Better modem, great, but what we really need is more towers. I am looking forward to 10 megabit 5G that AT&T is testing in Texas but if they don't put in more towers around Southern CA it will probably suck just as much as their LTE does when you are a couple miles away from the tower.
    You should request a microcell from AT&T. I got one for free a few years ago before wi-fi calling was offered since the signal was poor in an isolated area around my home. It's only 4G, but I don't need it for data. Just wanted calls and texts to go through, mostly.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,968member
    Some may get lucky to have cell tower planted close to their home. Otherwise most users complain that my carrier signal sucks at my home.
    Having either Intel or Qualcomm modem chip might not make much difference in signal improvement. My concern is if Intel modem chip supports only AT&T LTE and GSM bands than iPhone will have another CDMA modem chip inside to support Verizon or there will be two separate model between AT&T(GSM) and Verizon(CDMA) like iphone 4/4s.This sucks because you can't buy unlocked Verizon iphone and use on AT&T or T-mobile like we are able to do now since the introduction of iphone 5S.

    edited June 2016
  • Reply 20 of 23
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    volcan said:
    AT&T signal sucks at my house. 2 bars and slow. Uses up battery fast and drops FaceTime couple minutes into a call. The WiFi from my home office does not make it out to the back patio very well which is why I use cellular, but I wish it had a better signal. The original concept of cellular service called for many hexagonally positioned cell towers but due to expense, zoning and NIMBY, we ended up with few and far between towers, mostly along the interstate. Better modem, great, but what we really need is more towers. I am looking forward to 10 megabit 5G that AT&T is testing in Texas but if they don't put in more towers around Southern CA it will probably suck just as much as their LTE does when you are a couple miles away from the tower.
    Everyone else is suggesting you pester AT&T for a microcell, but honestly you should try improving your WiFi network instead. Once you do, the performance will be better and you'll be using the internet connection you should be using in your home.

    Most homes can effectively cover the entire property with 2 routers that are setup correctly. For example, I have my modem on one end of the house where the cable comes in. Immediately next to and connected to that is (1) AirPort Extreme 5gen base station. I think run a LAN out of the AirPort and into the attic, across the length of the house, and down into my home office, which is the full opposite end of the house. In the office, I have another AirPort Extreme 5gen base station, where the LAN now connects to WAN. For the many devices in my office, the AirPort then provides many other LAN connections. The real magic though is in the "Extend over Ethernet" option that two AirPort Extremes can do, when setting up the network. They now act as two separate nodes of the same network. All wireless devices see only the one WiFi network, and they connect to it. As a device moves from one side of the house to the other, it seamlessly transitions to the router with better signal. TL;DR theres a router in my home office, and I get plenty of WiFi signal on the back patio.


    nostrathomasrealjustinlong
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