Qualcomm Hints at Apple's Switch to Intel for LTE Modems in iPhone 7

MacRumors

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Qualcomm shares are currently trading lower after the chip maker suggested during an earnings call Wednesday that it will be losing orders from one of its major customers to one of its leading competitors.

Analysts believe that customer will be Apple, according to Bloomberg, following rumors that the Cupertino-based company will rely on Intel to supply the majority of LTE modems for the iPhone 7, which is expected to be announced at a media event this September.
Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf told analysts he is "assuming" that a major customer will give orders to a rival, indicating a potential loss of business for the company. [...] Samsung already uses multiple suppliers, leaving only Apple to make this change.
In early March, CLSA Securities analyst Srini Pajjuri issued a research note claiming that Intel has secured a "significant portion" of LTE chip orders from Apple, likely in the range of 30 to 40 percent of production. Pajjuri believes Qualcomm will likely be tasked with at least a portion of the remaining orders.

Intel reportedly has 1,000 or more employees working on preparing its 7360 LTE modem for the next-generation iPhone. Intel's 7360 LTE modem chip [PDF] features faster theoretical downlink speeds up to 450 Mbps, uplink speeds up to 100 Mbps, and support for LTE category 10 and 29 LTE bands overall.

The switch to Intel LTE chips means the iPhone 7 could have even faster LTE speeds for browsing the web, downloading apps, streaming video, and other data-related tasks. Apple already improved LTE speeds on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus by adopting LTE-Advanced, which pushed downlink speeds up to a theoretical max of 300 Mbps.

Apple currently sources all of its LTE modems for iPhones from Qualcomm, including the MDM9635 chipset in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which provides theoretical downlink speeds up to 300 Mbps and uplink speeds up to 50 Mbps. Qualcomm has been Apple's exclusive supplier of LTE modems for over three years.

Rumors suggest that Apple may eventually create an all-in-one system-on-a-chip that includes both an A-series processor and an LTE modem chip for improved speed and power management. Intel could play a key role in licensing and fabricating the chipset based on its advanced 14-nanometer process.

Article Link: Qualcomm Hints at Apple's Switch to Intel for LTE Modems in iPhone 7
 

Pbrutto

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2015
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Eastern PA
Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!
 

TallManNY

macrumors 601
Nov 5, 2007
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Theoretical speeds are nice but connections are still degraded in many areas when you go into a building in NYC. Carriers in U.S. still have a lot of work to do to bring full and robust LTE to major metropolitan areas.
 

usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
1,447
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Intel's layoffs are going to be among the PC and manufacturing people, presumably. Desktop is dead, and it was killed by mobile not tablets...go figure.

Apple's problem will continue to be supplier diversity, as always. You can't put all your eggs in one basket.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,166
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Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!
Intel has been working for almost two years to build up their modem team. Just because you are hearing rumors now doesn't mean there will be delays.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/10/iphones-will-ship-with-intel-lte-chips-inside-in-2016/
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/96372/20151017/apple-ditches-qualcomm-hires-intel-to-work-on-lte-modem-chips-report.htm
 

milan03

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2002
440
13
New York City
Intel 7360 modem is literally comparable to what Qualcomm was shipping back in 2014.
2016 is the year when mobile operators will start launching 4x4 MIMO doubling the maximum throughput, 256 QAM, and Intel 7360 can do none of that.

Current Qualcomm modem being shipped in volume is X12 (part of Snapdragon 820 SoC), which is already Category 12, doing 600Mbps peak rates, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, etc.

Later this year, around the time iPhone 7 will presumably launch, they'll be shipping X16 modem capable of 1Gbps on the downlink, more efficient than X12, and not even in the same conversation with 7360.

Sometimes decisions like this completely boggle my mind...
 

usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
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Theoretical speeds are nice but connections are still degraded in many areas when you go into a building in NYC. Carriers in U.S. still have a lot of work to do to bring full and robust LTE to major metropolitan areas.
RF is RF, and there's not a lot you can do about it. That's why WiFi calling is so important to carriers.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
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The thick of it
Remember when the original iPhone debuted and Jobs announced that it used Edge for data, and everyone was disappointed because 3G was much faster (though it wasn't widespread)? Now Apple's gone in the opposite direction, using hi-tech modems with "theoretical" speeds even though few people will see the immediate benefit. The latter scenario is preferable, though, because at least it helps future-proof the device.
 

Mascots

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Sep 5, 2009
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Apple has been working very closely with Intel this decade (the last 5+ years especially) so I don't find it too hard to see them wanting to switch to a partner who they have more influence over. And of course, Intel will happily bite since they are more-or-less losing the fight in mobile and any entry would be beneficial, whether it is expanded or not.
 
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2457248

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with what carriers charge for data usage (and the ridiculous monthly GB plans), these advancements to LTE are the last thing people will notice in a new phone.
but rest assured there will be a page in the presentation of the new iphone saying: 50% faster LTE speed :(
 
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falainber

macrumors 68000
Mar 16, 2016
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That's odd, Intel just announced a 12,000 person layoff.
Is it? Qualcomm laid off even more workers (as percentage of their workforce) last year. As far as Intel is concerned, this modem will be a rounding error for their profits. It's a good step for them but they need to do more to gain real traction in mobile.
 
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recoil80

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Jul 16, 2014
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I value power consumption more than maximum download speed, so if Intel is better than Qualcomm for battery life that's a good news
 

citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
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Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!
You should pick up the phone and give Tim Cook and his staff a piece of you mind. Because I'm sure they're just trusting what Intel has told them, have not evaluated any first silicon devices, and forgot to think about scheduling.
 

amro

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2008
369
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Intel 7360 modem is literally comparable to what Qualcomm was shipping back in 2014.
2016 is the year when mobile operators will start launching 4x4 MIMO doubling the maximum throughput, 256 QAM, and Intel 7360 can do none of that.

Current Qualcomm modem being shipped in volume is X12 (part of Snapdragon 820 SoC), which is already Category 12, doing 600Mbps peak rates, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, etc.

Later this year, around the time iPhone 7 will presumably launch, they'll be shipping X16 modem capable of 1Gbps on the downlink, more efficient than X12, and not even in the same conversation with 7360.

Sometimes decisions like this completely boggle my mind...
Hopefully Apple reads this website so they can learn from you.
 
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2457248

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You should pick up the phone and give Tim Cook and his staff a piece of you mind. Because I'm sure they're just trusting what Intel has told them, have not evaluated any first silicon devices, and forgot to think about scheduling.
oh come on, don't you know that half of the people in this forum are better apple managers than the actual apple managers?
the other half are busy deciding which ports should go on each device :p

(anyway, i think Pbrutto was being ironic)
 
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Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,163
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Australia, Perth
Stop giving Intel money!!! Plus this means massive delays, and that the iPhone 7 modem won't be ready until the IPhone 7s comes out and Apple will have to delay the phone release until Feburary!

There are already delays ..... anyway... doesn't really matter where chips come from does it ?