Apple's iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro rely on Intel LTE modems

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 17
A report on Tuesday reconfirms expectations that Apple is relying on Intel as its sole LTE modem supplier for iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models, with 2019 marking the last year iPhone will use Intel's baseband technology before moving to Qualcomm's latest platform.

iPhone 11 Intel
"Intel" field test menus. | Source: PCMag


According to observations made by PCMag, Apple's new iPhone models, due to arrive in stores on Friday, share field test menus consistent with past products that use Intel modems. Qualcomm modems reveal a different test menu layout.

The iPhone menu fields, discoverable in iOS system settings, have not changed between iPhone 6S and iPhone XR, and those associated with Intel are once again present in U.S. versions of iPhone 11. As such, the publication concludes iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max all utilize baseband chips manufactured by the now-former modem maker.

While Apple does not reveal which Intel chip is used in its current iPhone lineup, PCMag believes it to be the XMM 7660. Apple's public disclosures about iPhone's capabilities, such as Gigabit LTE, match specifications of Intel's most recent -- and last -- 4G chip.

Similar to previous reports, the publication expects a roughly 20% increase in performance from the XMM 7660 as compared to iPhone XR and XS. Early test results from cellular bandwidth monitoring service SpeedSmart appear to back up those assertions, as an impromptu evaluation last week showed a 13% improvement in connection speed from last year.

Real-world performance will vary from location to location, and carrier by carrier, but Intel's baseband technology should grant a moderate speed bump over Apple's outgoing models. That said, the iPhone 11, like its iPhone XR predecessor, will likely see slightly reduced performance compared to iPhone 11 Pro due to its reliance on 2x2 MIMO antennas. Apple's more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max models boast 4x4 MIMO setups, meaning increased throughput that translates to greater speeds.

This year's iPhone lineup represents Intel's swan song as a modem supplier. The chipmaker abandoned its mobile modem business in April on word that Apple settled its long-running legal dispute with Qualcomm, which opened the door for a multi-year partnership expected to bring Qualcomm back into the iPhone fold in 2020.

Apple subsequently bought Intel's 4G and 5G patent portfolio for $1 billion as the tech giant develops its own modem technology.
alexa8006

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    You mean Apple LTE modems. 
    rayboalexa8006racerhomie3mejsricrepressthiscornchipAppleExposedJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    You mean Apple LTE modems. 
    I suppose you're right, but I highly doubt its an Apple designed LTE Modem. 
    bonobobalexa8006repressthisAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,027member
    macxpress said:
    You mean Apple LTE modems. 
    I suppose you're right, but I highly doubt its an Apple designed LTE Modem. 
    Intel designed XMM 7660 but Apple owned. Going forward 2020 iPhone 12(not 12 Pro/MAX because that will have Qualcomm X55) will be Apple enhanced LTE modem chip. In 2021 iPhone 13 will have Apple designed 5G/LTE modem chip which in 2022 will be integrated into CPU/GPU SOC for iPhone 14.

    caladaniantannertannertannerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Now all those people who only want a Qualcomm modem in their iPhone will skip this generation!! /s
    ronncornchipAppleExposedJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Now all those people who only want a Qualcomm modem in their iPhone will skip this generation!! /s
    I think we can all imagine the crying that will happen all over places like this when QC Modems are just history and the Apple modem is used everywhere. That new modem will be DOA in many people's eyes simply because of the historical association with Intel.

    On the bright side, 99% of users don't give a toss about the make of modem used in their device.
    mikeybabesseanjronnfh-acecornchipAppleExposedJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    A Qualcomm modem won't be able to overcome mediocre antenna performance if Apple doesn't get that part right with future phones.

    Or has everyone forgotten about the iPhone 4, where a user's grip had adverse effects and elicited Jobs' infamous quote?

    It's clear that a good many are too young, and have never had to wrestle with a TV antenna to get a clear picture.

    With RF systems, the tuner isn't the only part of the equation.
    llamaGeorgeBMacAppleExposed
  • Reply 7 of 19
    And was someone expecting something else? That Apple will incorporate Qualcomm modem into ready phone 4 moth before release?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    The 11 Pro screens look really harsh compared to the 11 in that photo, like they are missing true tone.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    The 11 Pro screens look really harsh compared to the 11 in that photo, like they are missing true tone.
    Too me it looks like True Tone is turned off on all of the handsets pictured. 
    ronn
  • Reply 10 of 19
    That’s a real good reason to wait for the 2020 models with QCOM inside.
    edited September 18
  • Reply 11 of 19
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,824member
    Now all those people who only want a Qualcomm modem in their iPhone will skip this generation!! /s
    That’s me.   I’ll be waiting till next year for the QualComm modem which is a pity because the camera on the Pro sounds phenomenal but I’m not going to pay for another iPhone with the subpar performance of my Intel based 8Plus.   
  • Reply 12 of 19
    WMontoWMonto Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    My iPhone 7 Plus had much better Verizon coverage than my XS Max.  Especially problematic for my XS Max is the LTE voice uplink.  I can hear people just fine, but I cut out.  Additionally, I’m not sure if Apple softened the screen glass or not, but this is the first phone since my plastic Blackberry that was scratched by keys in my pocket.  
  • Reply 13 of 19
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,732member
    citpeks said:
    A Qualcomm modem won't be able to overcome mediocre antenna performance if Apple doesn't get that part right with future phones.

    Or has everyone forgotten about the iPhone 4, where a user's grip had adverse effects and elicited Jobs' infamous quote?

    It's clear that a good many are too young, and have never had to wrestle with a TV antenna to get a clear picture.

    With RF systems, the tuner isn't the only part of the equation.
    Exactly. There are many factors that affect the cellular performance of a phone, and any single one of those can compromise the entire system. That’s why comparing modems is so difficult. 
  • Reply 14 of 19
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    Qualcomm you got what you wanted.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    citpeks said:
    A Qualcomm modem won't be able to overcome mediocre antenna performance if Apple doesn't get that part right with future phones.

    Or has everyone forgotten about the iPhone 4, where a user's grip had adverse effects and elicited Jobs' infamous quote?

    It's clear that a good many are too young, and have never had to wrestle with a TV antenna to get a clear picture.

    With RF systems, the tuner isn't the only part of the equation.

    I'm sure Apple hasn't learned from their mistakes and they have no idea what they're doing...

    /s
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    citpeks said:
    A Qualcomm modem won't be able to overcome mediocre antenna performance if Apple doesn't get that part right with future phones.

    Or has everyone forgotten about the iPhone 4, where a user's grip had adverse effects and elicited Jobs' infamous quote?

    It's clear that a good many are too young, and have never had to wrestle with a TV antenna to get a clear picture.

    With RF systems, the tuner isn't the only part of the equation.
    I assume you’re referring to the made-up quote pushed by the Apple-hate crowd: you’re holding it wrong. His actual quote acknowledges there’s a problem, and has none of the victim blaming of the made up quote. “Just avoid holding it that way.” It’s a terse, but perfect response, and even implicitly (“Just”) puts into perspective the magnitude of the problem—and how simple it is to avoid. 

    Jobs being Jobs, it wouldn’t have surprised me in the least if he had responded “who the hell holds a phone like that”; I guess he wasn’t in one of his moods lol. 
    edited September 19 ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    One of my friends who is a hard core Apple fan is weighing up his options for switching to Android. Reason - Signal issues with his iPhone Xs, which none of his colleagues with Samsung/Huawei phones are facing. Only his iPhone Xs has this problem according to him. Possible Technical reason - Intel modem in iPhone Vs Qualcomm modem in Samsung phone. Not sure about Huawei phones though.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    One of my friends who is a hard core Apple fan is weighing up his options for switching to Android. Reason - Signal issues with his iPhone Xs, which none of his colleagues with Samsung/Huawei phones are facing. Only his iPhone Xs has this problem according to him. Possible Technical reason - Intel modem in iPhone Vs Qualcomm modem in Samsung phone. Not sure about Huawei phones though.
    I’d probably just return it before the 15 day return period is up, and see if the iPhone 11 works better for him. Or go ahead and switch to Android if he wants to give that a try. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    One of my friends who is a hard core Apple fan is weighing up his options for switching to Android. Reason - Signal issues with his iPhone Xs, which none of his colleagues with Samsung/Huawei phones are facing. Only his iPhone Xs has this problem according to him. Possible Technical reason - Intel modem in iPhone Vs Qualcomm modem in Samsung phone. Not sure about Huawei phones though.
    I’d probably just return it before the 15 day return period is up, and see if the iPhone 11 works better for him. Or go ahead and switch to Android if he wants to give that a try. 
    Few more points - he says iPhone 11 Pro is overpriced. And he doesn't like the display in iPhone 11. So he is looking at android options for this year. Apple need not worry about losing him to android permanently. He will be back next year buying iPhones. 
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