Saturday, October 17, 2015

Intel Corp. Working on LTE Modem Chip for the Next-Generation iPhone


According to a report out of VentureBeat, Intel has built a team of more than 1,000 people to build chips for the next-generation iPhone. Specifically, Apple is rumored to be switching to the Intel modem chip for some models of the iPhone 7, using it instead of the standard Qualcomm chips Apple has used for years.

Intel's 7360 LTE modem chip features an up to 450MB/s downlink and it supports 29 LTE bands. Intel is eager to score a contract with Apple, which is why it has poured so many resources into the development of the chip, which is supposed to begin shipping later this year.

One source said Intel needs a small army of people on the Apple account because of the importance of the project to Apple's future in the mobile market, because of the complexity of the project, and because Apple is a demanding client with an extremely popular phone.


The LTE modem chips in the next-generation iPhones could be dual-sourced from both Intel and Qualcomm, with earlier rumors suggesting devices in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America could use Intel's chip. Intel is not yet an official supplier for the modem chip, but should Intel continue to make important milestones, it could wind up inking a deal with Apple.

Should work on the modem chip go well, VentureBeat says Intel could end up supplying Apple with both that chip and the fabrication for a new Apple system-on-a-chip. Apple is said to be aiming to create a future system-on-a-chip that includes both the iPhone's Ax processor and the LTE modem chip for improved speed and power management.

While Apple would create the chip, Intel would handle the production of it using its 14-nanometer process. Currently, Samsung and TSMC share the production task, but use a 20-nanometer processor. Intel 14-nanometer process would lead to superior density and gate pitch, according to the report. Intel is also currently working on perfecting its 10-nanometer process, in which Apple is very interested.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel is already shipping Intel Core processors for Apple MacBook and iMac devices. But the attempt to power iPhone would make the company bigger in the world of mobile devices.
The Tech Zone
The Tech Zone

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