Intel begins production on modems for the 2018 iPhones

Intel is now manufacturing modems that will be used for the 2018 iPhone lineup. The XMM 7560 is the first Intel modem produced in-house and first to support both CDMA and GSM. Despite this, Apple will still rely on Qualcomm for some of its modem orders despite continued legal problems between the two companies, according to Nikkei

Initially, Apple wanted Intel to produce all the modems for the 2018 iPhones. However, “some quality issues” have forced the company to turn to Qualcomm, which it has been battling in court over licensing fees since 2017. In previous years, Intel outsourced its modem manufacturing to TSMC. For Verizon and Sprint iPhones, Apple relied almost exclusively on Qualcomm since the Intel models couldn’t support CDMA.

In November, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Intel and Qualcomm would share model manufacturing duties for Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup.

The XMM 7560 offers improved LTE speeds but doesn’t support 5G. For this, Intel’s expected to turn to the XMM 8060. It’s not yet known whether 2019 iPhones will support 5G.

The XMM 8060 is expected to be found in smartphones, fixed wireless products, and connected personal computers made by HP, Dell, Lenovo Group, Asustek Computer, and Acer.

As Nikkei explains of the XMM 7560:

The chip is also Intel’s first product set to reach data download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. It is widely viewed as a key achievement in the company’s cellular communication technology, where it has long trailed competitors such as Qualcomm, the world’s top mobile chip provider. Modem chips are crucial components that determine the quality of calls, data transfer and connection speed.

The 2018 iPhone lineup is expected to include at least three new handsets, including a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, all-new 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus,” and 6.1-inch LCD model. A second-generation iPhone SE is could also be announced in the Fall.

New iPhones should be announced in September alongside new Apple Watch and iPad Pro models.