Qualcomm's iPhone 7 Plus modem beats Intel modem in areas with weak signal

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in iPhone
The Qualcomm modem used in some versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus performs markedly better than the Intel one, at least where signal might be poor, according to research published on Thursday.









Using equipment to simulate LTE performance at varying distances from an celltower, there was -- overall -- a roughly 30 percent gap between Qualcomm- and Intel-equipped versions of the 7 Plus, Cellular Insights remarked. While both models should operate identically under good conditions, Qualcomm units have faster downloads where signal is fainter.









Intel-based 7 Plus models did badly compared to several other smartphones, including the iPhone 6s, LG G5, Google Nexus 5X, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Of those, the S7 Edge topped performance charts.



The Intel-based 7 Plus performed so poorly, in fact, that Cellular Insights bought a second unit in case the first was defective, but results were said to be nearly identical.









Intel's modem is also worse in that it only supports GSM-based networks, like AT&T and T-Mobile. Qualcomm's modems for the iPhone 6s and 7 are compatible with CDMA networks as well, making it easier to switch carriers.



Apple appears to have chosen Intel modems for AT&T and T-Mobile versions of the phone to diversify its supply chain, which was previously locked into Qualcomm. By having more than one supplier, Apple can force price competition, and/or better meet demand.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Who didn't see this coming? :)
  • Reply 2 of 31
    The same article at 9to5Mac is much more detailed, and explains that iPhones sold in China, Japan, and the United States have the Qualcomm modem.  iPhones sold in other territories have the Intel modem.  In those other territories, they recommend buying the Verizon/Sprint/SIM-free version, which has the Qualcomm modem.
    anantksundaramrepressthisminicoffee
  • Reply 3 of 31
    The same article at 9to5Mac is much more detailed, and explains that iPhones sold in China, Japan, and the United States have the Qualcomm modem.  iPhones sold in other territories have the Intel modem.  In those other territories, they recommend buying the Verizon/Sprint/SIM-free version, which has the Qualcomm modem.
    What about Europe? I guess that will also have a Qualcomm modem. 
  • Reply 4 of 31
    This sounds as not one of the best decisions made by Apple. 
    dasanman69
  • Reply 5 of 31

    By having more than one supplier, Apple can force price competition, and/or better meet demand.
    That's a fine plan until people find out the supplied parts are not equal and demand increases for the superior part.
    tyler82dasanman69
  • Reply 6 of 31
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,712member

    By having more than one supplier, Apple can force price competition, and/or better meet demand.
    That's a fine plan until people find out the supplied parts are not equal and demand increases for the superior part.
    Qualcomm should increase the price of their modem to Apple.
    tyler82dasanman69
  • Reply 7 of 31
    The same article at 9to5Mac is much more detailed, and explains that iPhones sold in China, Japan, and the United States have the Qualcomm modem.  iPhones sold in other territories have the Intel modem.  In those other territories, they recommend buying the Verizon/Sprint/SIM-free version, which has the Qualcomm modem.

    No, the Qualcomm’s MDM9645M modem, which powers the (A1660, A1661) Verizon, Sprint, and SIM-free models, features better cellular performance than the AT&T version (A1778, A1784) Intel version. 

    edited October 2016
  • Reply 8 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,938member
    See post before mine ^ Oh joy, now the paranoid schizophrenics who obsessed over which CPU was in their iPhone (remember the Samsung vs TSMC hand wringer?) will now demand to have their Intel modem replaced with a Qualcomm modem. Tech bloggers will stir things up by figuring out how to tell which modem your iPhone has. Apple users are WEIRD!
    edited October 2016 digital_guyronnafrodrinolamacguy
  • Reply 9 of 31
    So who is Cellular Insights again? Oh right, just another nobody/wannabe blog trying to make a name for themselves.

    I bet this is a case where you can measure the difference between two components, but in the real world won't ever notice a difference do to the rapidly changing conditions of your cellular signal. Sort of like antennagate where cell providers stated the iPhone 4 had better performance and fewer dropped calls than the 3GS it replaced, but because some 300lb sweaty palm douche with his Vulcan grip trying to get reception in his moms basement was able to affect the signal bars it somehow means there's a problem.
    ronnlolliverperkedelnolamacguy
  • Reply 10 of 31
    softekysofteky Posts: 132member
    Intel has been holding Apple up for well over a year on the Mac side. Intel has been trying to get Apple to use their processor on the iPhone side too. I wonder if Intel has been playing games with delaying Apple until Apple has agreed to use Intel's product in the iPhone. My spider sense is tingling (or just more paranoid than usual). Is it possible that Apple had to commit to use Intel chips (starting with the modem) in the iPhone then Intel would get MacBook Pro Kaby Lake processors into Apple's hands in sufficient quantity for Apple finally to be able to refresh the MBP?

    In order to support 4-5k graphics throughput and ThunderBolt 3.1 Apple would need Kaby Lake (not a cut-down version either). Intel does not seem to have been in a cooperative mood so I wonder if they have been holding out on Apple without business quid-pro-quo, putting Apple in a position to be the Beta tester for Intel's modem chip set.

    Perhaps now we can get a 5k Apple 27" display too with TB 3.1 and various ports?
    Perhaps Intel can be persuaded to fix their iPhone modem chips (can the software drivers make up the gap)?
    Must order more popcorn. 
    digital_guy
  • Reply 11 of 31
    My AT&T iPhone 7 (which has the Intel modem) has MUCH worse reception out in the country than my 6S did! It's almost unusable when I'm in my house. Very disappointed. 
  • Reply 12 of 31
    rwesrwes Posts: 165member
    softeky said:
    Intel has been holding Apple up for well over a year on the Mac side. Intel has been trying to get Apple to use their processor on the iPhone side too. I wonder if Intel has been playing games with delaying Apple until Apple has agreed to use Intel's product in the iPhone. My spider sense is tingling (or just more paranoid than usual). Is it possible that Apple had to commit to use Intel chips (starting with the modem) in the iPhone then Intel would get MacBook Pro Kaby Lake processors into Apple's hands in sufficient quantity for Apple finally to be able to refresh the MBP?

    In order to support 4-5k graphics throughput and ThunderBolt 3.1 Apple would need Kaby Lake (not a cut-down version either). Intel does not seem to have been in a cooperative mood so I wonder if they have been holding out on Apple without business quid-pro-quo, putting Apple in a position to be the Beta tester for Intel's modem chip set.

    Perhaps now we can get a 5k Apple 27" display too with TB 3.1 and various ports?
    Perhaps Intel can be persuaded to fix their iPhone modem chips (can the software drivers make up the gap)?
    Must order more popcorn. 
    That would backfire relatively quickly.

    Examples which come to mind:
    - Motorola -> IBM Power
    - Mac Clones -> Shut em down | build own hardware
    - IBM Power -> Intel
    - Microsoft (foot dragging) with Internet Explorer (for Mac OS) -> Apple answers with Safari
    - Microsoft (foot dragging) with Office (for Mac OS) -> Apple answers with iWorks
    - Samsung iPhone Application Processes -> Apple brings it in house (A Series) and just 'kills it all'
    - Google Maps -> iOS Apple native Maps

    For better or worse, Apple has shown/proven that if/when hamstrung by a 'supplier', they have a solid plan B in place. All the speculation of Apple possibly running full blown OS X / macOS on A series processors, I would be surprised if they were not. They've moved before, twice (Motorola > IBM, IBM > Intel). If they did it again, no one who has followed Apple history should be surprised.

    If you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself - I'm sure it's some un-documented internal Apple philosophy.

    What's Bob Mansfield special project that he was brought back for, I wonder!

    Definitely will be ordering more popcorn with you.
    edited October 2016 ronnafrodrinolamacguyidrey
  • Reply 13 of 31
    The same article at 9to5Mac is much more detailed, and explains that iPhones sold in China, Japan, and the United States have the Qualcomm modem.  iPhones sold in other territories have the Intel modem.  In those other territories, they recommend buying the Verizon/Sprint/SIM-free version, which has the Qualcomm modem.

    No, the Qualcomm’s MDM9645M modem, which powers the (A1660, A1661) Verizon, Sprint, and SIM-free models, features better cellular performance than the AT&T version (A1778, A1784) Intel version. 

    Maybe you should go read the article at 9to5Mac, which is where the information comes from, not the poorly written article here at AppleInsider.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    lkrupp said:
    See post before mine ^ Oh joy, now the paranoid schizophrenics who obsessed over which CPU was in their iPhone (remember the Samsung vs TSMC hand wringer?) will now demand to have their Intel modem replaced with a Qualcomm modem. Tech bloggers will stir things up by figuring out how to tell which modem your iPhone has. Apple users are WEIRD!

    Was just correcting the quoted post.  

  • Reply 15 of 31
    The same article at 9to5Mac is much more detailed, and explains that iPhones sold in China, Japan, and the United States have the Qualcomm modem.  iPhones sold in other territories have the Intel modem.  In those other territories, they recommend buying the Verizon/Sprint/SIM-free version, which has the Qualcomm modem.

    No, the Qualcomm’s MDM9645M modem, which powers the (A1660, A1661) Verizon, Sprint, and SIM-free models, features better cellular performance than the AT&T version (A1778, A1784) Intel version. 

    Maybe you should go read the article at 9to5Mac, which is where the information comes from, not the poorly written article here at AppleInsider.

    That was from 9to5Mac. 

    https://9to5mac.com/2016/10/20/iphone-7-qualcomm-intel-modem-cellular-performance/


    What you're reading is where the article says the Qualcomm chip is only sold in those countries, not that all phones in those countries have them. 

    edited October 2016
  • Reply 16 of 31
    What could exactly demonstrate the performance is a curve called RETURN LOSS on all channels or frequencies. If any LAB is reading this could do it for us...
    Regards,
  • Reply 17 of 31
    It's time to go Verizon boys.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    kaitain4 said:
    My AT&T iPhone 7 (which has the Intel modem) has MUCH worse reception out in the country than my 6S did! It's almost unusable when I'm in my house. Very disappointed. 
    My co-worker has an AT&T iPhone 7 and it's basically unusable when they're in the office. They didn't have this problem with the 6. Consumers shouldn't have to worry about these things. It should just work.
    tyler82
  • Reply 19 of 31
    larryalarrya Posts: 547member
    The phones with Intel modems should be $100 less. 
  • Reply 20 of 31
    kaitain4 said:
    My AT&T iPhone 7 (which has the Intel modem) has MUCH worse reception out in the country than my 6S did! It's almost unusable when I'm in my house. Very disappointed. 
    My co-worker has an AT&T iPhone 7 and it's basically unusable when they're in the office. They didn't have this problem with the 6. Consumers shouldn't have to worry about these things. It should just work.
    hey let me match that amazing anecdote with this one -- my at&t 7 has no problem at work, and my SO's 6S has problems at her work. 

    youre re trying to prove causation where you cannot. 
    avoidMLMschemes
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