Apple: Concern Over Intel Modem Misses The Bigger Picture

On Friday, June 9, Bloomberg published a report that Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) gigabit class cellular modem would not be available in time for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next generation of iPhones. It's well known that Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon X16 modem is already capable of gigabit download speeds and is incorporated into the Snapdragon 835 system on chip (SOC) used in the Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S8.

Because Apple designs its own SOCs and doesn't have the ability to design its own cellular modems, it buys discrete modem chips. Last year, for the first time, Apple split its modem chip orders between Qualcomm and Intel. The article speculated that Apple would do the same thing again and throttle the Qualcomm part to match the performance of the Intel modem.

It's certainly possible that Intel will not have the modem in question (XMM 7560) ready in time. It was announced at Mobile World Congress this year with a rather vague target for production start being soon after the chip started sampling. If Intel hasn't started production and there's been no announcement of it, it's probably too late for Apple.

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