Intel announced back in May that it would be temporarily exiting the the smartphone market, cancelling plans for its Broxton and SoFIA CPUs.
Now there is news of Intel re-entering the market with a bang, as the supplier of modems in some models of Apple's next iPhone.
The news is not yet public, but according to Bloomberg sources, this is a move by Apple to diversify its suppliers, with Intel replacing Qualcomm's chips. Specifically, it will be the US's AT&T handsets that will feature the Intel modems, along with "some other versions" in other countries. Qualcomm will continue to supply modems for the majority of Apple's products.
If confirmed, this is big news for Intel, whose previous foray into smartphones left the company operating at a loss. At the time, Intel stated it was "accelerating its transformation from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices," and that cancelling Broxton as well as SoFIA 3GX, SoFIA LTE and SoFIA LTE2 would "enable us to move resources to products that deliver higher returns and advance our strategy."
With AT&T expected to sell 22 million iPhones this year, and another million on top of that figure next year, if this news is accurate then it seems that strategy has paid off. Apple and Intel have declined comment at this stage — we will keep you updated as we learn more.