Apple Limiting LTE Speeds of Qualcomm-Powered iPhone 7 to Match Intel Variant: Reports

Apple Limiting LTE Speeds of Qualcomm-Powered iPhone 7 to Match Intel Variant: Reports
Highlights
  • Apple limiting iPhone 7 LTE speeds on Verizon to match AT&T model
  • Data shows iPhone 7 not taking advantage of Verizon capabilities
  • Apple refutes the claims of different download speeds

Apple has been accused of limiting the LTE performance of iPhone 7 models powered by Qualcomm chipset to match speeds of the Intel-powered models. Qualcomm-powered iPhone 7 models on Verizon network should have higher download speeds on paper than Intel-powered ones AT&T, however, in testing, Bloomberg reports it was found that iPhone 7 models from both Verizon and AT&T had similar speeds in real life.

The Bloomberg report cited researchers at Twin Prime and Cellular Insights for testing. Recode in a separate report citing sources claims that Apple indeed limited some iPhone 7 models featuring Qualcomm chipset to match the speeds of Intel-powered chipsets. "It wanted the cost savings and flexibility of having two chip sources but also wanted the different versions of the phone to be as similar as possible," said Ina Fried in her report. Apple has however refuted the claims of different download speeds.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller commenting on the report said, "Every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus meets or exceeds all of Apple's wireless performance standards, quality metrics, and reliability testing. In all of our rigorous lab tests based on wireless industry standards, in thousands of hours of real-world field testing, and in extensive carrier partner testing, the data shows there is no discernible difference in the wireless performance of any of the models."

For those unaware, the iPhone 7 models sold through Verizon (and Sprint) feature Qualcomm's X12 modem which is claimed to offer maximum download speeds of up to 600Mbps while iPhone 7 models on AT&T (and T-Mobile) are powered by Intel chipset with a maximum download speed of up to 450Mbps.

Gabriel Tavridis, Head of Product at Twin Prime, on similar LTE speeds on the iPhone 7 models from Verizon and AT&T said, "The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon's network capabilities. I doubt that Apple is throttling each bit on the Verizon iPhone, but it could have chosen to not enable certain features of the network chip." Twin Prime from its internal testing claimed that the Samsung Galaxy S7 powered by the same Qualcomm X12 modem was way faster than the iPhone 7 on Verizon.

There's no question that two models powered by different modems will perform same, but if the test reports are correct, then it seems Apple thought it would be awkward if iPhone 7 models on Verizon were faster than the ones on AT&T (and T-Mobile).

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Further reading: iPhones, iPhone, iPhone 7, Verizon, AT&T, Qualcomm, Intel
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