When the prospect of being able to create chips for one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world makes itself available, it's something that needs to be taken extremely seriously. That's especially the case if you haven't managed to make a grand statement in the mobile market in the past.
That prospect is one that Intel currently faces, as it has a chance to craft its 7360 LTE modem for use in the next iPhone - if it can continue making significant milestones. Even if it does, Apple might still use a mix of Intel and Qualcomm modem chips when the iPhone 7 goes into production. Perhaps if things are far along enough, and Intel's offering is compelling, Apple could go all-in with Intel.
Intel is taking this challenge so seriously that it's gone through the effort of pushing a staggering 1,000 engineers to the project, according to sources close to VentureBeat. Ultimately, this isn't just about creating the LTE modem for the iPhone, but down the road, being able to fabricate the chip, as well.
Intel fabrication facilities in Chandler, Arizona
Sources have said that Apple is impressed with Intel's fabrication processes, especially since it's able to create chips on a 14nm process. A 10nm reality will be soon upon us, which will improve both performance and battery-life further. Currently, both Samsung and TSMC fabricate the latest iPhone's A9 chip.
Another potential perk for Apple in the future is the possibility of having Intel's LTE modem built right into its SoC, improving battery life even further (and perhaps performance.) But it doesn't stop there: with either this chip or the next one, Intel could pack CDMA support on-die as well, bolstering its phone's capabilities even further.
If Intel manages to pull this off, it will be without question a huge win for the company.