Published in Mobiles

iPhone 7 with Intel doesn’t support CDMA

by on15 September 2016

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Fudzilla told you that the iPhone 7, or at least some version of it, will come with an Intel modem and Apple has finally confirmed it. 

The iPhone 7 spec webpage clearly states that Models A1778 and A1784 do not support CDMA networks, such as those used by Verizon and Sprint. Since we do know that Intel’s 7360 doesn’t support CDMA, this news is as big as the confirmation. Apple is definitely not using Samsung’s standalone modems and other companies simply don’t have any standalone modems. Yes, we do mean that the remaining candidates, MediaTek and Huawei, have SoCs that include CPU and Modem on the same chip.  

To refresh your memory, Intel bought Infineon, a company that made a lot of modems for the  iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS, 4, 4GS, before iPhone learned how to support 4G. Since the iPhone started using 4G and until iPhone 7, it only used Qualcomm chipsets. The iPhone 6S uses Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE Cat. 6 Modem.

Intel’s 7360 is the chip that we suspect is inside  some of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It supports LTE-FDD/TDD up to 450M bps downlink, LTE Advanced up to Cat.10, EDGE, DC-HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA. The modem doesn’t support CDMA and the problem is bigger than the fact that Models A1778 iPhone 7 and A1784 iPhone 7 Plus will not work on Verizon and Sprint.

Verizon is the largest network in the US with 142.8 million subscribers in July 2016. In Q4 2015 Sprint had somewheree around 57.9 million subscribers being behind T-Mobile US, which had 63.282 million subscribers.

Now think outside of the box, as China Telekom is using the CDMA-2000 network. Telecom China  had 208.68 million subscribers and 95.83 million are using the 4G network. These are the numbers from June 2016. AT&T in the US, at the same time, had 110,376 million subscribers.

Again, the fact that Apple chose Intel means two things, and Intel doesn't make the best modems. On the contrary, Intel makes a decent modem that is inferior to the competition but  is a) cheaper and b) a gateway to dual sourcing for Apple.

The good news is that Model A1660 and Model A1661 will support CDMA EV-DO Rev. A  (800, 1900, 2100 MHz) as well as FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30), TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41) TD-SCDMA 1900 (F), 2000 (A).

Intel’s 7360 doesn’t support TD-SCDMA, Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) that is also used in networks in China as an alternative to W-CDMA.

There will be a third SKU for iPhone 7 A1779 exclusively made for Japan and the iPhone 7 Plus A1785 Japan version. This is nothing new - Apple used to have three SKUs for iPhone 6S and 6S Plus but the main difference was that all of these SKUs used a Qualcomm chipset.  

This has changed and this is not surprising as there are so many countries and telecoms/network carriers that one company needs to support. Samsung has 5 different SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) for the Galaxy S7 due to different territories and the most notable difference is that the AT&T version comes with the Snapdragon 820 chipset while the European version comes with Exynos 8890, that includes Samsung’s own clearly inferior modem. We are currently working on a developing story that the Intel modem based iPhone 7 might show up all over Europe too. 

Now, we are just a few days until iFix it and Chipworks cracks the iPhones open, to give us a final confirmation. 

Last modified on 15 September 2016
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