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Intel modems may be in up to half of next-gen iPhone shipments, analyst estimates

Chipmaker Intel may have won as much as half of the orders for modems in Apple's next-generation iPhones shipping this fall, an analyst with Northland Capital Markets claimed on Wednesday.




Apple has been considering an Intel modem "for a while," according to Gus Richard, who didn't identify a specific chip in an investor memo. In March a report sugested that Apple would use Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem, but only in 2016 and for markets like Asia and Latin America.

Assuming a 50 percent order share, Richard suggested that Intel could generate an extra $750 million to $1.25 billion in revenue during 2016.

"This is a marque win for Intel and would go a long way to reducing the mobile business losses," he wrote.

Although Intel is an overwhelming force when it comes to desktop, laptop, and server processors, the growth of smartphones and tablets has undermined it financially. Most smartphones are based on processors with ARM architecture, including the iPhone, although Apple performs heavy customization to suit its needs.

Modem production is likely well underway for upcoming iPhone models. Apple may announce the new devices as soon as September 9, and launch them later in the month —typically, the company needs between one and two months of non-stop manufacturing to build up launch stock.

It's still uncertain whether there are only two new models planned —commonly referred to as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus —or if Apple is also working on an iPhone 6c, which might potentially revive the 4-inch display size used for the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c.