Apple to bring Intel on board for iPhone 7

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iPhone
But what about Qualcomm?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is preparing to team up with Intel for the upcoming iPhone 7, according to sources familiar with its plans. The chip maker is expected to supply up to 50 percent of Apple’s LTE modems for the new device.

Earlier reports have already claimed Apple will bring Intel on board for the iPhone 7, but they also claimed the company would drop Qualcomm — which has been producing LTE modems for Apple since it launched the iPhone 5s — completely.

Now DigiTimes is reporting that although Intel will become an Apple partner, it will only supply as much as half of its LTE chips. And it won’t even be manufacturing them in-house.

“Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips,” the report claims.

It’s unclear which company will manufacture the other 50 percent, but given that Qualcomm has been working with Apple for so long now, it seems likely it will remain in place at least for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Whether Apple chooses to switch to Intel exclusively for next year’s iPhone will likely depend on how well the partnership works out this year. Apple’s suppliers must meet incredibly strict requirements, and supply enough components to meet the massive demand for its products.