For the longest time ever, Apple has relied on Qualcomm for its LTE modems. However rumors from earlier this year suggested that both Intel and Qualcomm could be supplying the modems, which shouldn’t really be surprising as Apple has typically favored diversifying their suppliers so as not to have too much reliance on one of them.
However are the rumors true? According to a report from Recode, it looks as though rumors of some iPhone 7 models packing Intel’s modems could be true after all. How did they arrive at this conclusion? Apparently in the fine print of the iPhone 7, it notes that customers who purchase the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for AT&T and/or T-Mobile will be getting a phone that won’t fully work with Verizon or Sprint.
AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM-based carriers, while Verizon and Sprint rely on CDMA technology. Intel’s latest modems, as it stands, does not support the old CDMA standard that Sprint and Verizon are still using, hence the fine print. Unsurprisingly neither Apple nor Intel have offered to comment on it, meaning that we’ll most likely have to wait for a teardown of the iPhone 7 in order to see for ourselves.
While diversification is good, Apple did find themselves in a spot of controversy last year when it was discovered that the iPhone 6s/6s Plus had chipsets made by either TSMC or Samsung, with TSMC’s version apparently offering better battery life (at least on paper). Hopefully Apple will be able to avoid this with the iPhone 7/7 Plus.