Why iPhone 8 data speeds might be reduced by Apple


The iPhone 8 may not realise its full potential with rumors suggesting Apple may limit the data speeds on its upcoming handset.

According to Bloomberg, the next iPhone may not be compatible with gigabit data speeds – the next big thing to take the smartphone world by storm – which boast faster downloads and uploads than our current 4G networks deliver. 

Sources close to the matter state the reason behind the decision isn’t pinned on a lack of faith in a fledgling technology, but instead is steeped in drama stemming from ongoing legal troubles with Qualcomm.

Qualcomm, one of Apple’s two modem suppliers, is already putting gigabit-ready modems in popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the upcoming OnePlus 5

But Intel, Apple’s other modem supplier, is allegedly lagging behind schedule in developing a modem that’s comparable to Qualcomm’s in time for Apple’s next release. 

So, rather than allowing iPhone 8 owners to experience next-gen data speeds, Apple is said to be disabling key capabilities of Qualcomm’s more advanced modem to keep performance at parity with Intel’s. If this sounds to you like a controversial move, you aren’t alone.

No need for speed

Apple and Qualcomm’s business relationship is complicated. Apple recently sued Qualcomm for overcharging for its technology licensing, which then prompted Qualcomm to counter-sue Apple for allegedly throttling their modem performance to match the comparatively limited potential of Apple’s other cellular chip supplier, Intel.

What’s being reported about the next iPhone’s modem situation seems to reflect the current legal climate between the two companies.

It’s hard to see Apple making Qualcomm its sole supplier given the tense situation, especially when it can lean on Intel to provide the modems at a price and speed that it sees as suitable.

The launch of gigabit speeds isn’t set in stone, so there’s a chance that iPhone 8 users won’t be missing out on much if it doesn’t launch widely for, say, another year or two. But hearing the underside of Apple’s potential reasoning for not supporting the tech, it’s tough to shake the idea that these phones will be limited in a way that they didn’t need to be.

Given that there are phones on the market right now that will support gigabit speed connections once they arrive, it is a bit concerning from the perspective of a consumer that Apple would turn away from riding with the wave.


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