Intel Reportedly Courting Apple to Become iPhone Baseband Chip Supplier

Intel Reportedly Courting Apple to Become iPhone Baseband Chip Supplier

Intel is reportedly courting Apple in an effort to get back into the iPhone supply chain, as it seeks to replace Qualcomm as baseband supplier for future models of the iPhone.



Qualcomm currently supplies the wireless LTE chips found in Apple’s product lineup, including the flagship iPhone 5s. That partnership is not expected to change with this year’s iPhone models, but analyst Timothy Acuri of Cowen and Company has heard that talks are heating up between Intel and Apple for the 2015 iPhone.

Acuri’s notes to investors on Monday said that Apple has apparently “re-embraced” Intel, and the two parties are talking about components for next-generation iPhone models.

Acuri believes the talks are merely an act on Apple’s part to obtain better pricing from current supplier Qualcomm, although he also notes that the discussions do add an air of “credibility” to Intel’s LTE baseband efforts.

Acuri’s note made no mention of the April report that said Apple would be bringing its baseband chip efforts in-house.

Acuri does say he believes Apple may be ready to make a switch of suppliers for the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip found in the iPhone, which is currently supplied by Broadcom, noting evidence that Qualcomm has made significant strides that could put the company in a position to replace Broadcom in the next few years.

Intel purchased Infineon for $1.4 billion in 2010, the last Apple phone to include an Infineon baseband chip was that year’s GSM iPhone 4. Qualcomm built the baseband chip in the CDMA iPhone 4, and Qualcomm supplied all baseband chips for Apple as of the iPhone 4S.