Apple dips after report that future iPhone modems could lag rivals

Posted June 10, 2017

The next iPhone won't be the absolute fastest phone for downloading files or streaming music, because it will likely lack a gigabit LTE modem, Bloomberg reported on Friday. According to Bloomberg's Ian King, Scott Moritz and Mark Gurman, Apple has partnered with Intel for the wireless modems in its new phones, and the chip manufacturer doesn't have a modem that can communicate at the new wireless speeds. Apple is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with the chipmaker, accusing the supplier of maintaining an illegal monopoly, and it's seeking to loosen Qualcomm's grip on the market for high-end smartphone modems.

The sources further stated that until Intel is able to offer its chips with matching features, Apple will throttle the capabilities of the Qualcomm modem to match. But due to the two companies already butting heads in legal quandary, Apple has chose to use a mix of modems form both Qualcomm and Intel for the iPhone 8, according to Bloomberg. Another supplier, Intel Corp., is working on a modem with the same capability, but it won't be ready for the iPhone's introduction, according to people familiar with Apple's decision. So although Qualcomm's offering can support the aforementioned gigabit data speeds, the iPhone 8 won't support such speeds because Intel's LTE modems can't compete just yet. On the contrary, Intel earlier this year debuted a new XMM 7650 modem that can handle gigabit LTE speeds.

As Bloomberg points out, the original iPhone launched in 2007 without support for 3G networks and went on to be a revolutionary piece of technology that changed the industry.

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Most major U.S. carriers plan on launching the new gigabit speeds later this year, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 is already equipped with the Qualcomm chip capable of utilizing the new network speeds, according to Bloomberg. Apple also jumped on the LTE bandwagon about a year after Samsung.

Most new iPhone rumors we've seen lately have tried to nail down what new features Apple's next handset will include. Sprint said it will have at least three 1 gigabit capable phones available this year - with the exception of iPhones.