Apple’s really doing it: It’s gonna stop using Qualcomm’s superior cellular modems for the next iPhone, the chipmaker’s CFO George Davis said during its Q3 earnings call.
Why should you care? Because your next iPhone could have significantly slower LTE data speeds than competing Android phones.
“We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitor’s modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release,” reports CNET.
Without Qualcomm supplying Apple with cellular modems, the iPhone maker will likely switch to using Intel’s modems, which are fast, but not as fast as Qualcomm’s.
Apple’s decision to not use Qualcomm’s modems is almost certainly a result of its legal disputes over patent royalties with the mobile chipmaker.
Currently, Apple uses modems from both Qualcomm and Intel for its iPhones. If you’ve got an iPhone that runs on a CDMA network (Verizon or Sprint), your device comes with a Qualcomm modem. However, if your device operates on a GSM network (T-Mobile or AT&T), it’s LTE is powered by an Intel modem.
An independent Ookla study (full disclosure: Mashable parent company Ziff Davis also owns Ookla), the speedtest company revealed just how inferior Intel’s modems are compared to Qualcomm’s latest modems.
On AT&T, devices with Qualcomm’s X20 LTE modem, which is embedded in its Snapdragon 845 chip powering many flagship 2018 Android phones, saw download speeds of up to 64 percent faster than the Intel modems inside of some iPhones.
Same went for T-Mobile: Devices with Qualcomm’s modems saw up to 68 percent faster download speeds than iPhones with Intel modems.
Dumping Qualcomm is a big win for Intel or any other modem maker Apple’s potentially considering. But unless one of these companies is able to make a faster mobile modem than Qualcomm, iPhone users lose the most. Instead of getting the fastest modems, they’ll have to settle for second or third fastest.