"Intel Inside" some versions of the iPhone 7

Intel XMM 7360 LTE Modem

Intel XMM 7360 LTE Modem

Intel, which has been suffering lately due to its lack of focus on the mobile market and its dependence on the declining PC market, just got a boost today with a report from Bloomberg stating that the AT&T and general GSM versions of the upcoming iPhone 7 will use Intel LTE modems rather than the Qualcomm units used in the existing handsets.

The Verizon version of the iPhone 7 will reportedly continue using the Qualcomm modems, as well as handsets that are sold in China. 

The report supports earlier information from Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopft that the company expected that a major client would move to another supplier for some of its modem requirements, and also follows repeated rumors that Intel would supply as much as 50 percent of Apple's iPhone modem needs. Apple also reportedly sent an engineering team to work with Intel last year to optimize the 7360 LTE modem chip for use in the iPhone.

There are positives in this for Apple as well; diversification of its supply chain allows for competition between suppliers and hopefully lower unit pricing, and not having a dependence on a sole source makes ramping up production much easier.

It's very unlikely that those of us using the forthcoming iPhone 7 will notice any difference in how the phone works with one modem versus the other.