It’s not been easy for Intel to catch up with the big hitter Qualcomm in the mobile chip market but there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, if a Bloomberg report is to be believed – apparently Intel’s modems will be used in the iPhone 7 for phones sold on AT&T in the US and some international versions.
Qualcomm, the current incumbent, will pick up the slack on Verizon and in other parts of the world, particularly China. While it’s not great news for Qualcomm, the company won’t be panicking yet, and the move was to some extent expected: we heard very similar rumours last October.
Note that we’re talking modem chips here, which connect your smartphone to a cellular network and control radio communications – we’re not referring to the processors in the new iPhones, a job Apple usually farms out to TSMC and Samsung. It’s possible Intel could eventually take over here, too.
While you probably won’t give much thought to who made the modem chip as you amble down to the Apple Store to pick up your iPhone 7, it shows signs of hope for Intel in the smartphone market and indicates that Apple is willing to diversify in choosing hardware partners to help build its flagship handsets.
Further down the line it could lead to cheaper iPhones if Apple manages to play manufacturers off each other in terms of price. It’s estimated that Qualcomm gets around $15 for every iPhone Apple sells – about $3.47 billion last year, then.
As for the really juicy iPhone 7 rumours, there are plenty of those too. The handset, due in September, is said to be adding a camera lens, dropping the headphone jack, adding waterproofing and dropping the bezels. Aside from that, expect something that looks very similar to the iPhone 6S.