Apple’s next-generation iPhone won’t offer the same super-speedy gigabit LTE speeds as rival smartphones, according to a new report.
Qualcomm is the only company currently offering modems that support gigabit LTE, but thanks to a recent fallout with Apple, it will not be the sole modem supplier for iPhone 8.
Gigabit LTE is made possible by upgraded cellular networks and Qualcomm’s latest mobile modem, the Snapdragon X16. It has been slowly making its way into the latest Android-powered flagships, delivering download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps.
But don’t expect to get that from the iPhone 8. Bloomberg reports that thanks to Apple’s ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm over chip royalties, the company’s next-generation smartphones will have to miss out on blazing-fast data.
The problem Apple has is that Qualcomm is currently the only company manufacturing gigabit LTE modems — and because of their ongoing spat, Apple won’t rely solely on Qualcomm’s chips. Instead, it will use chips from both Qualcomm and Intel as it has in previous years.
Apple has stopped paying Qualcomm royalties altogether for the time being after it accused the company of not following fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) guidelines. Qualcomm fought back with a counterclaim and tried to get iPhones banned in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Intel is working on a modem that will offer gigabit LTE, but it won’t be ready in time for iPhone 8. Apple cannot offer this feature on some iPhone 8 handsets and not others, so it has no choice but to drop it from its new lineup entirely.
Apple has taken a similar step in the past. iPhone 7 units equipped with a Qualcomm modem are capable of faster data transfers than those with an Intel modem, however, Apple throttles them so that the experience on every handset is the same.
This time, however, it will be more of a problem for networks in the U.S., which are currently trying to push their new gigabit LTE capabilities. It could also be a problem for Apple, whose latest handset will be lagging behind rivals like the Galaxy S8.