you likely won’t see Intel’s infamous “Intel Inside” sticker plastered on the back of the iPhone 7, but that doesn’t mean that future Apple smartphones won’t contain Intel technology.
Citing people close to the matter, VentureBeat reported that Intel has as many as 1,000 engineers working on a modem that could be used in a future iPhone. The Intel 7360 LTE modem, which supports 4G LTE and 3G CDMA networks, could arrive as early as the iPhone 7, according to the publication.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the 7360 modem will start shipping to manufacturers by the end of this year and will show up in products ready for consumers in 2016, which could result in Apple getting its iPhone 7 modems from both Qualcomm and Intel. Currently, all of the iPhone modems are sourced from Qualcomm.
An all-for-one future
Although Apple won’t be using Intel’s mobile-based Atom processor on an iPhone any time in the near future, the goal would be to integrate the modem directly onto Apple’s A-series processor in a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design. Integrating the modem, processor and graphics together onto a single silicon chip could lead to better battery life, improved performance and faster speeds for iPhone owners.
For Apple, this could also lead to thinner iPhone designs. Integrating components also means that less space is required for each individual component, so Apple could shed thickness or pack in a bigger battery on its next iPhone model.
Intel’s role in the equation would be manufacturing these chips. Apple would design the rumored A-series processor, license Intel’s intellectual property to integrate the modem directly into the processor design and then send the design to Intel’s fabrication labs to be manufactured.