Apple may use Intel modems for international iPhone 7 SKUs
There were rumors last year about Apple switching modem suppliers from Qualcomm to Intel for the next generation of iPhone smartphones. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf hinted that the company was about to lose a major customer and then had to ease investors that the its bottom line would not be significantly affected. Now, a new report from Bloomberg states that the upcoming iPhone 7 may indeed be equipped with Intel modems instead of the usual Qualcomm solutions.
In particular, the source claims that only GSM models for North America and international markets will make the transition to Intel modems instead. Meanwhile, CDMA variants for Verizon, Sprint, and other similar networks will continue to use modems from Qualcomm as Qualcomm is currently one of the very few providers of modems that are compatible with the relevant CDMA bands. The move would also put Apple in a very strong position for negotiations. Previous generations of iPhones shipped exclusively with Qualcomm modems worldwide.
Unlike most Android smartphones, the last two iPhone generations have been very well suited for international travelers since they are compatible with most LTE bands worldwide. Nonetheless, analysts suspect that modems from Intel are not yet on par with those form Qualcomm. MacRumors is predicting that Apple will use an Intel 7360 modem that supports up to 29 LTE bands and Cat. 10 LTE. This is compared to the Qualcomm X12 that supports Cat. 12 LTE speeds.