DigiTimes: Intel to supply at least half of iPhone 7’s faster LTE cellular modems

Intel logo (blue, white background, full-size)

Rumors continue to swirl that Intel had been commissioned to build LTE modem chips for Apple’s upcoming smartphone refresh, a marquee win for the semiconductor giant.

Tuesday, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported that Intel may supply up to fifty percent of LTE modems for the forthcoming iPhone 7 models.

Although Intel itself will package the modems, the chips will be mass-produced by contract manufacturers TSMC and KYEC, as per DigiTimes, indicating that the iPhone 7’s ‘A10’ system-on-a-chip may integrate an Intel-built LTE modem. These Intel-designed LTE modems for the iPhone 7 are said to be faster than those in the iPhone 6s.

Historically, Qualcomm has supplied LTE modems for iPhones.

However, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf warned analysts that his company was poised to lose some of its “biggest customers.” Though he did not mention Apple by name, these unnamed customers were going with a “second source,” he said.

News that Intel might have secured orders for half of the iPhone 7’s LTE modems was first publicized last August in a research note by Northland Capital analysts.

TSMC is the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, which currently churns out the present-generation A9 and A9X iPhone and iPad processors, along with Samsung. KYEC is the largest professional tester of back-end integrated circuit packaging and conducts testing for the semiconductor industry worldwide.

Economic Daily News and DigiTimes said today that Taiwanese part makers and manufacturers had started mass-hirings for iPhone 7 assembly work a month earlier than usual because the handset has “a more complex design” than previous models.

The new phones are expected to hit store shelves at the end of September.

Source: DigiTimes