A report from a somewhat “iffy” source indicates Intel will be supplying up to 50% of the faster LTE chips to be used in the upcoming iPhone 7, expected to debut in September.
Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.
Previous rumors have indicated Intel was looking to get an entry into the iPhone supply chain. An October report said Apple had sent an engineering team to Intel to aid in optimizing the company’s 7360 LTE modem.
In support of DigiTimes report, it should be noted that current LTE chip supplier Qualcomm hinted earlier that it would be losing modem orders from one of its major customers, who would be defecting to one of its major competitors. (See how we put the pieces together? – Ed.)
A March research note from CLSA Securities analyst Srini Pajjuri indicated Intel has secured a large portion of Apple’s LTE modem orders. While Qualcomm will likely be given any remaining LTE modem production, it will no longer be the primary supplier for Apple’s devices.
Intel’s 7360 LTE modem chips is said to be much faster than current LTE chips, offering theoretical downlink speeds up to 450 Mbps, uplink speeds up to 100 Mbps, and support for LTE category 10 and 29 LTE bands.
This all means iPhone 7 users could enjoy much improved speeds when using an LTE connection for browsing the web, downloading songs and videos, and more. The Qualcomm MDM9635 chipset currently used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which provides theoretical downlink speeds up to 300 Mbps and uplink speeds up to 50 Mbps. Your mileage may vary.