WE KNOW, WE KNOW. The iPhone 6S may have been released just a few weeks ago, but rumours are already stirring that Intel is fighting to become the supplier of LTE chips for next year's model.
A report at VentureBeat claims that Intel has a 1,000-strong team working to ensure the its 7360 LTE modem chip makes its way into the iPhone 7, or at least some versions of it, ousting the Qualcomm 9X45 LTE chip currently seen inside the iPhone 6S.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said earlier this year that the 7360 modem will start shipping to manufacturers by the end of this year and will show up in products ready for consumers in 2016, adding weight to the speculation.
The report claims that Apple hasn't officially signed Intel as its modem chip supplier, but that a deal "will happen" if the company continues to hit targets.
Intel's end goal, according to the report, is to eventually convince Apple to select the firm to help build the system-on-chip (SoC) used in future iPhone handsets. According to VentureBeat's sources, Apple plans to create a SoC that combines the AX processor and the LTE model chip, a move of which Intel is likely to be aware.
A source cited in the report said that Apple will "licence the LTE modem intellectual property from Intel" for the chipset, rather than slap 'Intel Inside' branding on the iPhone 7.
Samsung and TSMC currently share the fabrication of the A9 SoC, which is featured in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, both using the 14nm process. However, as the report notes, these foundries are said to compromise by making the interfaces with a 20nm process.
Intel, on the other hand, uses a 14nm process "from front to back", creating silicon chips with superior density and gate pitch.
Another source close to Intel said that Apple is also tempted by the fact that Intel is already developing a 10nm process, which could yield even smaller and faster processors.
Intel and Apple declined to comment on the report. µ
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