The 2016 iPhone may feature an Intel modem

iPhone 6s

After several years of futility, Intel may have finally found the chip and partnership that helps turn its mobile fortunes around.

According to a report from VentureBeat, Intel has more than 1000 employees working around the clock to ensure its well-regarded 7360 LTE modem chip is in the next iPhone.

Apple sources the current iPhone’s modem from Qualcomm, the competitor Intel has been playing catch-up to since the advent of the first iPhone, and modern smartphones in general. In fact, the company is fully aware how significant this partnerships could be to its future fortunes. “This is a must-win for Intel,” said one of the unnamed individuals VentureBeat interviewed for the report.

Apparently there’s no manufacturing deal in place just yet, but it’s looking very likely Apple will, much like it’s done with this year’s A9 chip, dual source the iPhone 7’s modem chip.

For its part, Apple sees its collaboration with Intel as a long-term play. The company envisions a future where it’s able to design a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that combines both one of its future ‘A’ processors and an LTE modem on the same piece of silicon. The main benefit from this type of setup is that the resulting chip would feature significantly improved performance while at the same time draining less of the phone’s battery in day-to-day operation.

The SoC will be designed by Apple and will bear the company’s name, but the modem tech will reportedly be licensed from Intel and will be manufactured by the chip-maker using its 14-nanometre fabrication process.