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Your next iPhone may be slower than Android phones



  25-iphone-8-and-iphone-8-plus-product-special-2018

Apple has used Intel 4G chips for some models of the iPhone and Qualcomm chips for others.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Apple makes some major changes to the chips in its upcoming iPhones ̵

1; and it may mean that your next iPhone downloads are slower than competing Android devices.

Qualcomm, a major provider of 4G smartphone chips, said Wednesday is not expected to deliver modems to any future iPhones.

"We believe that Apple intends to use only the competitor's modems instead of our modems in the next iPhone release," said Qualcomm's CFO George Davis during an earnings call with analysts .

Cristiano Amon, manager of Qualcomm's chip business, noted that it does not mean that Qualcomm has lost Apple's business forever, but it's out for now.


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"This is a very dynamic industry," he said during the earnings call. "If the opportunity presents itself, I think we will be a supplier of Apple."

Apple and Qualcomm have fought over patents since the beginning of 2017. Qualcomm has previously delivered all modems to iPhone, but Apple now uses 4G chips from Intel in about half of their phones – especially those who drive on AT & T and T-Mobile networks. Moved gave Apple more influence in the fight with Qualcomm, but it has been criticized to harm consumers by limiting network speeds.

Qualcomm did not say which company will deliver modems to the next iPhone, but it is thought to be Intel.

Apple's move to sources its chips from a vendor could have major implications for your next iPhone. Going back to a chip vendor can make Apple harder to keep up with the demand for its coming iPhones, which means you'll have to wait even longer to get your hands on a new device. And speed tests have shown that Qualcomm-powered smartphones have faster network speeds than devices running on Intel processors.

"Qualcomm will be the best 4G and 5G modem for a long time, so now it's [sic] time for Android makers and QC, and mobile operators to start making noise on this," Shrout Research analyst Ryan Shrout tweeted .

Intel refused to comment on Qualcomm's remarks. Apple did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Legal spat

Qualcomm is the world's largest mobile chips supplier, and it created technology that is important for connecting phones to mobile networks. The company has a significant portion of revenue from licensing inventions to hundreds of device manufacturers, with fee based on the value of the phone, not the components. Because Qualcomm owns patents related to 3G and 4G phones – in addition to other features such as software, any handset that builds a device that connects to the newer networks must pay a license fee, even if they do not use Qualcomm's chips.

It includes Apple. Cupertino, California, the giant makes its own application processor – the brain of the iPhone – but it relies on third party chips for network connectivity. Since the iPhone 4S in 2011, the supplier of these chips was Qualcomm. Because only Qualcomm developed high-end modems, it had more power when it came to the relationship.

Apple in January 2017 sued Qualcomm and said that it should pay a fee based only on the value of Qualcomm connectivity chips, not the entire device. It says that Qualcomm is "effectively taxed Apple's innovation" and that Apple "does not have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with."

Qualcomm expects technology to be much more than just connection. There are also multimedia, imaging, GPS and countless other inventions that make a phone to a phone. Without its technology, Qualcomm says that iPhone would not be possible.

Slower speeds?

With 2016s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in some versions of iPhone, the models running on AT & T and T-Mobile networks. Verizon and Sprint versions still used Qualcomm processors. Apple continued the strategy with last year's iPhone 8 iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X and Qualcomm have previously said that Apple will probably take the same track with this year's phones. It has turned out to be not the case.

Qualcomm has accused Apple of delaying the speed of Qualcomm-powered iPhones to match the speeds of Intel-powered devices. Although Intel has made advances that increase its modems, it still continues Qualcomm in speed tests.

A report from Speedtest appliser, Ookla earlier this week showed that Android phones using Qualcomm modems were faster than Intel-powered phones – iPhones – on the same network. On T-Mobile, for example, Android smartphones using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 data used 53 percent faster than phones using Intel's XMM 7480 chip and 68 percent faster than Intel's XMM 7360 modem.

"The mobile performance of Android smartphones based on Snapdragon 845 exceeded the Intel devices in each evaluated metric," said Qualcomm Monday in a blog post.

Analysts expect it to have a quick advantage over Intel to continue. The first devices using Qualcomm's 5G chips – probably mobile hotspots – will hit the market later this year, followed by phones early next year. Intel does not expect its 5G chips for power phones until mid 2019 .

First published July 25 at 2:12 PM p.m. PT.
Update at 3:15 p.m. PT : Adds background information and further comments.

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