According to an exclusive report recently published by PCMag, results of a study conducted by Cellular Insights show that iPhone X units equipped with Qualcomm made hardware achieved faster LTE connection speeds compared to models powered by Intel’s hardware. The lab testing was done by basically comparing the connection performance of both Qualcomm and Intel hardware on LTE Band 4, which is utilized by most mobile operators in America. It should also be noted that both the Qualcomm and Intel iPhone X units are sold in the United States.
Cellular Insights found that when signals were not that strong, i.e. not more than -85 decibel milliwatts (dBm) in signal strength, the Qualcomm powered iPhone X units logged higher speeds rather consistently. When the signal strength was at -129 dBm, both the Qualcomm and Intel models ceased to connect.
Interestingly, Apple and Qualcomm have been grabbing some headlines lately over patent infringement issues. Earlier this week, Qualcomm had filed a request with the US International Trade Commission in order to push for the ban of any importing and selling of specific iPhone models that are fitted with Intel’s modem hardware. Such models would include iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus units that work on the networks of major US wireless carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. As for iPhone models that run on Verizon Wireless’ and Sprint’s networks, they are equipped with Qualcomm’s modem hardware.
Apple had started making full use of both Qualcomm and Intel modems last year with the release of its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus flagship devices. Earlier models such as the iPhone 6, the iPhone 5, and the iPhone 4 all utilize modems manufactured by Qualcomm. As for the iPhone X, there are three models sold around the world -- namely the A1865, the A1901, and the A1902. The A1865 model is powered by Qualcomm and is offered by carriers Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and US Cellular in America. The A1901, on the other hand, is sold by AT&T and T-Mobile. Finally, the A1902 is sold only in Japan.
The legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm basically revolves around the former’s unwillingness to pay the license fees that the latter is charging. For a number of years, Apple had no choice but to use Qualcomm’s models because Qualcomm is the only supplier that provides premium quality modems that can work on the CDMA networks of Verizon Wireless and Sprint.
But that may change with Intel’s XMM7560 modem coming into play. Because this modem is expected to come with support for CDMA, Apple will no longer depend solely on Qualcomm. Looking at the long term, the iPhone maker may eventually do away with Intel, too -- there is talk that the tech giant is starting a project that would allow it to produce its own modems by the end of the decade.
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