The iPhone 6s and 6s plus has been launched, though there are still marketing as well as other related decisions to be taken about the smartphone but Apple inc simply isn’t waiting to finish that. As per tradition ( Apple’s tradition) , the Cupertino based technology giant are already making critical design and hardware decision pertaining to its 2016 smartphone model – the iPhone 7. I will write on plausible speculation for the 2016 iphone in my next article, but for now we will be considering Apple’s decision to ditch Qualcomm processors for Intel’s.
Image credit: gsmdome.com
Apple “most likely” to start using Intel chips
Report says Apple reportedly has a deal with Intel to fit the 2016 iPhone 7 with the 7360 LTE modem chips by Intel. This virtually screams bad news for Qualcomm chips that are ‘most likely’ going to be ditched in favour of Intel’s 7360 chips. Though the are speculations (which i personally think is “almost certainly” ) that Apple is planning to use chips from both companies (intel & Qualcomm) in which the Latin and Asia markets will be getting Intel’s chip while Qualcomm’s serve the rest of the market.
Currently, The iPhone 6s and 6s plus are fitted with Qualcomm’s LTE modem chips – the MDM9625M. According to Qualcomm, the chipset uses a 20-nanometer process technology which results in lower power consumption and a smaller overall package. It is a Category 4 LTE modem, supporting speeds of up to 150 Mbps, compared to the MDM9615 Category 3 modem at up to 100 Mbps, which is found in the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 5. Part of the speed benefits of the MDM9625 and new LTE-Advanced technology compared to earlier generations of modems comes from the use of carrier aggregation to combine channels for greater bandwidth.
The iPhone 6s logic board shows a chip identified as the MDM9635M module from Qualcomm
Image credit: Downloadblog.com
However, since Intel is probably still working ( I mean tweaking here) on the 7360 LTE modem that Will be used in the iPhone 7, we can’t put forward accurate and plausible speculation on the chip but we have specifications that are a given. Intel says that the chip “combines power management units and leading-edge capabilities in a compact, power efficient design to deliver performance benefits”. The chip is one of Intel’s latest product. It was launched on March 2, 2015 alongside Atom x3 processor series (code-named SoFIA), Intel Atom x5 and x7 processor series (code-named Cherry Trail). The chip also comes with support for up to Category 10 and more than doubles the download speed of the chip used in the iphone 6s and 6s plus. It features a download speed of up to 450 Mbps.
Some Key Features of the 7360 LTE modem
•LTE-FDD/TDD up to 450Mbps downlink
•LTE Advanced up to Cat.10
•Worldwide band and CA support in two
•Flexible 3x carrier aggregation of up to 60MHz aggregated band width
•Voiceover LTE (VoLTE)
•LTE Broadcast (eMBMS)
•Intel Release 11 protocol stack
Image credit: venturebeat.com
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A little late to the Game…
There are indications that Apple hasn’t officially signed a deal with Intel for the chip yet and it seems Intel may be subsequently more involved with the iPhone than just provide chips, Intel would also ‘likely’ get the job of fabricating the SoC (System on Chip) using its 14-nanometer process. Intel is seriously trying to make a mark in the mobile chip market but it’s ‘a little late to the game’. The iPhone deal is a must win for Intel as the company lag quite far behind its rival – Qualcomm in the mobile chip business. To demonstrate the importance of the deal, Intel reportedly has over 1000 workers working on the chip. Apple engineers have also
been making trips to Munich, Germany, to work with Intel engineers to optimize the 7360 chip for Apple’s phone. Infineon the company that supplied the 3G modems in the iPhone up until 2011, before losing the deal when it sold out to Intel is based in Munich.