After years of speculation, it appears that Intel has finally won a spot inside Apple’s iPhone 7 according to a new report from Bloomberg. Qualcomm has been the primary supplier of wireless modems inside iPhones for years, but its role will be diminished thanks to Apple’s new agreement with Intel.
It’s not all sours news for Qualcomm, however, as it’s been reported that the company will still supply chips for CDMA versions of the iPhone, like those that operate on Verizon Wireless/Sprint in the United States and for the Chinese market. Intel chips will be used in GSM versions of the iPhone 7 (i.e. AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States) for majority of the remaining global markets.
Bloomberg reports that going with Intel “for an important role in the product that generates about two-thirds of Apple’s annual revenue may represent a calculated gamble by the company” and that Qualcomm’s modems still outperform Intel’s offerings in performance.
Apple sold over 230 million iPhones during fiscal 2015, so grabbing any share of that market is good news for Intel. While it’s not a knockout victory for Intel, the company has at least gotten its foot in the door, which is beneficial for a chipmaker that has seen better days in the mobile sector.
Earlier this year, Intel gave up on its low-power Atom x86 processors used in Android smartphones, following an incessant barrage from competing chips based on ARM architecture. Intel’s core business has also come under attack as PC sales have fallen year after year. In April, Intel announced that it was laying off 12,000 employees (roughly 11 percent of its global workforce). “These actions drive long-term change to further establish Intel as the leader for the smart, connected world,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the time.
Moving forward, Intel will focus its energies on cloud/data centers, Internet of Things, advanced storage technology, and 5G wireless connectivity.