Will An Intel Chip Power The Next iPhone?

The next iPhone from Apple could feature an Intel chip as the hardware giant looks to make it third time lucky getting its products into the latest smartphones.

A report from VentureBeat have claimed that Intel is throwing huge amounts of manpower into developing its 7360 LTE modem chip, set to launch in the first half of next year, for a future Apple device as it looks to displace its old rival Qualcomm.

The company has up to a thousand employees working on efforts to get the new chip into both a new Apple iPhone device set to launch sometime in 2016, but also Microsoft’s rumoured Surface phone.

Partnership

Intel already supplies chips for Apple’s range of Mac desktop and laptop computers, but getting its hardware into an iPhone would open it up to a potentially huge consumer base.

However, this may by no means be a conclusive victory for Intel, as the report claims that Apple will dual-source the modems for its next iPhone, with Intel being used alongside Qualcomm, which currently provides all modems for iPhones and iPads.

Apple has also used both Samsung and TSMC to build the A-series processor used to power its devices, but this strategy could soon change if Intel does a good enough job with the modem for the next device.

If this is the case, Apple could well turn to Intel to build an entirely new system-on-a-chip (SoC), combining both the processor and LTE modem, especially after recent claims that that iPhone 6S devices powered by a Samsung chip gave up to two hours less battery life than those featuring a TSMC chip, due to differences in the manufacturing procedure.

Broadening

The report comes as a key industry observer has claimed that Intel is also looking to get the 7360 chip into the rumoured Surface smartphone, widely expected to be Microsoft’s next development following the success of its Surface Pro devices.

“I have heard that Microsoft is indeed working on an Intel-based smart phone for 2016 that may or may not be marketed as a Surface rather than a Lumia,” said Paul Thurrott, quoting sources from within the company.

The device, codenamed Project Juggernaut Alpha, will be Microsoft’s most powerful smartphone yet, with reported hardware specifications including a high resolution 5.5in display, Intel’s Atom processor, a 21MP camera and up to 4GB RAM. The Surface phone is said to feature the same industrial design language of the Surface tablets and is currently being tested internally by Microsoft staff.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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