No, Apple isn’t going to slap the famous ‘Intel Inside’ branding on the back of iPhone 7. But the Santa Clara-based company is rumored to get a chance to put its technology in next year’s iPhones. Inside sources familiar with the matter told VentureBeat that Intel has about 1,000 engineers working on the 7360 LTE model chip that is likely to be used in the iPhone 7, or at least some variants of it.
Intel, Qualcomm both to supply iPhone 7 LTE modems
Currently, Apple uses Qualcomm’s 9X45 LTE chip in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said earlier this year that the 7360 LTE modem will start shipping to manufacturers by the end of 2016. The 7360 LTE modem supports 4G and 3G CDMA networks. VentureBeat added that Apple hasn’t yet signed a deal with Intel, but an agreement “will happen” if the chipmaker continues to hit targets.
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Sources told the publication that Apple could source iPhone 7 LTE modems from both Intel and Qualcomm. The Cupertino company won’t be using Intel’s Atom processor in iPhones anytime soon. Intel’s goal is to integrate its modem directly onto Apple’s A-series chips in a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design. Integrating the processor, modem and graphics on a single chip could increase the phone’s battery life and improve its performance.
Integrating components would make the iPhone 7 slimmer
Integrating components would also make the next-gen iPhone thinner. Recent reports suggest that the iPhone 7 will be as thin as iPod Touch. So, why would Apple not feature the ‘Intel Inside’ branding on the back of iPhone 7? Because the Cupertino-based tech giant will design the SoC and “license the LTE modem intellectual property from Intel.”
TSMC and Samsung currently supply the 14nm A9 processor for the iPhone 6S, but they create the interface with the 20nm design. That isn’t as advanced or efficient as Intel’s 14nm design. Apple was also impressed by the fact that Intel has already started working on a 10nm design, which could lead to even smaller and faster processors. VentureBeat said that several Apple engineers have been visiting Intel’s facility in Munich, Germany, where the 7360 LTE modem was created. Apple engineers are working closely with Intel.