iPhone 8: Castrated Qualcomm modem for USA, Intel in Germany

iPhone 8: Kastriertes Qualcomm-Modem für USA, Intel in Deutschland

In the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple re-installs different LTE modems depending on the region. Intel has after the iPhone 7 again the foot in the door of Apple – even in German iPhone 8. Because Qualcomm but the faster LTE modems supplies, these must be throttled again to the level of Intel.

Apple’s new iPhones again reach the theoretically maximum possible bandwidth of current LTE modems in appropriately equipped LTE networks. The reason for this is once again the use of different LTE modems from Qualcomm and Intel. In order to reduce the dependence on the iPhone 6s exclusive to the exclusive provider of modems Qualcomm, Apple since the iPhone 7 also installed LTE modems from Intel.

For Intel, the Apple order is a huge gain and the biggest success of the modem division, for the end user would be the sole supply by Qualcomm modems at least according to current development but the better choice. Because once again, the Intel in the iPhone 8 is not as powerful as the Qualcomm counterpart. However, since Apple does not want to bring differently powerful products on the market, the better of the two modems must be slowed down.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 im US-iPhone

In the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, according to the current iFixit Teardown, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 is installed as an LTE modem – at least in the A1863 model, which is intended for the US market, but not for Germany. The Snapdragon X16, also called MDM9655, is a modem for LTE Advanced Pro with up to 1 Gbit / s downstream and up to 150 Mbit / s upstream. The Snapdragon X16 follows the Snapdragon X12, which was still installed in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Intel XMM 7480 in the German iPhone 8

The TechInsights site inspected the offshoots of an iPhone 8 Plus with the model number A1897 for the weekend. This is the version of the smartphone, which is intended for the German market and other European countries. And lo and behold: Like in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is in the German iPhone 8 again an LTE modem from Intel.

The XMM 7480, which is the successor of the XMM 7360 still installed in the iPhone 7, is installed. Compared to this, Intel has increased the maximum speed in the downstream from 450 to 600 Mbps as well as the number of supported LTE bands. In addition, a four- or three-phase carrier aggregation is possible and, last but not least, energy consumption has also been reduced by 15 per cent.

Intel modem is not proven to be worse

Nevertheless, Intel can keep up to date with Qualcomm in terms of downstream speed. In theory, the Snapdragon X16 already provides Gigabit LTE, while the XMM 7480 offers a maximum of 600 Mbit / s. This was again possible with Qualcomm with the Snapdragon X12 from the iPhone 7, which therefore had to be throttled to the Intel XMM 7360 possible 450 Mbit / s. This is now again necessary with the X16, in order not to disadvantage the XMM 7480. Bloomberg had already speculated in June that it would happen. Now, Apple’s new iPhones are actually stuck in the predicted LTE tweezers. Intel’s new XMM 7560 for Gigabit LTE is still not ready for use.

However, it remains to be seen whether further differences are possible due to the installed LTE modem, apart from the theoretically maximum possible downstream speed. On the iPhone 7, measurements carried out by Cellular Insights showed that Intel’s modem achieves significantly lower data throughput than the Qualcomm modem, especially in the case of poorer reception quality.



Ivy is loves technology and has been addicted to it since childhood. Apart from tech, she loves watching sci-fi / historical documentaries and traveling to new places.

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