Report: Intel modems will power some next-gen iPhones


— 1:47 PM on June 10, 2016

Intel's struggling mobile efforts may have just gotten a major boost. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple will use Intel modems in some of its next-generation iPhones. The site's sources say that next-gen iPhones destined for AT&T's network in the USA will use Intel modems, as will some overseas models of the handset.

Intel isn't getting a monopoly on the modems in Apple's next-gen phones, though. Qualcomm—whose modems have been inside at least some iPhones from the iPhone 4 on—will continue to supply chips for the Verizon models of the next-gen phone, according to Bloomberg. The site's sources disclosed that future iPhones destined for the Chinese market will also use Qualcomm chips.

If Bloomberg's sources are correct, Intel is getting a much-needed win for its mobile division. The company axed its upcoming Broxton and SoFIA SoCs last month after a cool response for its current-gen low-power parts. Asus' Zenfone 2 handset and Dell's Venue 8 7000 tablet were among the few design wins Intel got for its Moorefield mobile SoCs. Subsequent Asus Zenfone 2 variants, the next-gen Zenfone 3, and the high-end Zenfone 3 Deluxe all incorporate various chips from Qualcomm, and we can't recall hearing of another Intel design win in this space since the Zenfone 2 and Venue 8 7000 debuted.

This purported dual-sourcing strategy would be a broadening of the methods Apple already employs to obtain its A9 SoC. Corporate intelligence firm Chipworks caused an uproar when it revealed that Cupertino was sourcing A9 chips from both Samsung and TSMC. Chipworks believed that Apple moved to a dual-sourcing strategy to avoid supply bottlenecks for the iPhone 6S family, and it's possible the company is hedging its bets for the baseband chips in its next-gen iPhones, too.

   
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