Intel wants to make iPhone processors by 2018

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Future iPhone processors may be made by Intel.
Future iPhone processors may be made by Intel.
Photo: Apple

The next iPhone you buy might have Intel inside, if the company is able to succeed in its new plans to overthrow Apple’s long-time partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Intel, the world’s-largest chipmaker, is reportedly looking to make a big splash in mobile chips and has already started talking to Apple about taking over orders to make the ARM processors used in the iPad and iPhone.

“TSMC could face tough competition as soon as 2018 or 2019 as Intel is likely to gain orders from Apple by then,” Samuel Wang, a semiconductor analyst at Gartner, told the Nikkei Asian Review. “Intel has begun to engage with Apple and it aims to grab one or two top-tier customers from TSMC.”

Apple sometimes splits its chip orders between Samsung and TSMC, like with the iPhone 6s. Samsung’s A9 processor came under scrutiny from some customers for allegedly being a bigger battery drainer than iPhone 6s units with the TSMC A9 chip.

The upcoming iPhone 7 could be the first iPhone to feature an Intel chip, though it won’t be a processor. Intel is rumored to be making an LTE modem that will take iPhone 7 orders away from Qualcomm. Landing the A12 processor order in 2018 would be an even bigger score.

Intel struck a deal with British mobile chip designer ARM to license its technology that Apple uses for its iPhone processors. Now that Intel already has a deal to make ARM chips for LG, it looks like TSMC could be in trouble.