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iPhone 7 modems will bear Intel, report claims

Rumors of an Intel modem takeover for the iPhone 7 have remained constant for some weeks, to the point where many assumed it would be even without specific, tangible evidence. A new report out of Bloomberg goes on to confirm what many already believed to be true but gives evidence of how Qualcomm, Apple’s strongest modem partner in recent years, will fit into the mix.

According to the latest report, international iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, alongside of AT&T iPhone 7 models, will all feature an Intel modem, while Verizon USA and Chinese models of Apple’s upcoming “apples” will bear a Qualcomm modem chip. Qualcomm has a firm grasp or stronghold on CDMA chips, and, since Verizon remains a CDMA carrier, we expect Qualcomm to carry Verizon like it always has. It’s likely that, since Sprint also runs on code division multiple access (or CDMA) technology, Sprint iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models will also bear a Qualcomm chip.

Qualcomm has said in a report to investors that it expects to lose some major business (which is now presumed to be some of Apple’s iPhone 7 orders), but this is not a surprise to Qualcomm. Just last year, the internationally renown chipset maker also loss major business from Korean giant Samsung Electronics when the company opted to implement its own homegrown octa-core, Exynos 7420 processor, into the company’s 2015 Galaxy smartphone lineup that includes the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, and the Galaxy Note 5. Having lost business from Samsung last year, Qualcomm had to lay off some of its employees. Samsung has decided to use Qualcomm processors this year, but the company did so due to agreed-upon deals and financial incentives to do so. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were the first 2016 smartphones to bear the new quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. Losing business to Apple doesn’t spell good news for the company, and Intel’s selection for the job means that Intel will make some serious cash in the deal.

No matter what happens, though, Qualcomm is still a giant in the business, so we happen to think that, unless Intel proves its modem performance is superior this year, Intel’s presence in the manufacturing process is an experiment that could find Cupertino turning back to Qualcomm in 2017.

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