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Apple's New iPhones May Miss Out On Higher-Speed Data Links (bloomberg.com) 114

Due to Apple's complicated way of managing the supply of the components embedded in its flagship devices, the company's upcoming iPhones may miss out on the higher-speed data links that many rival smartphones employ. "One of Apple's suppliers, Qualcomm, sells a modem capable of the 1 gigabit download speeds," reports Bloomberg. "Another supplier, Intel, is working on a modem with the same capability, but it won't be ready for the iPhone's introduction, according to people familiar with Apple's decision." From the report: Apple could in theory just use Qualcomm's chips, but it has an aversion to being dependent on a single supplier, and its relationship with San Diego-based Qualcomm is particularly thorny. Cupertino, California-based Apple is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with the chipmaker, accusing the supplier of maintaining an illegal monopoly, and it's seeking to loosen Qualcomm's grip on the market for high-end smartphone modems. That's why Apple will stick with Qualcomm modems for some of its new iPhones while relying on Intel for others. Until Intel is able to offer its chips with matching features, Apple won't enable some of capabilities of the phones running with Qualcomm modems, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn't public. Apple, Qualcomm and Intel declined to comment. Apple's decision clashes with the marketing plans of a cellular industry desperate to show off faster network speeds to grab market share. The top U.S. wireless carriers -- Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. -- have declared 2017 the year of 1 gigabit speeds.
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Apple's New iPhones May Miss Out On Higher-Speed Data Links

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously. What's the problem? The problem with those high speeds is that it's very easy to reach the threshold at which users are throttled or capped. It might be a bigger problem for Apple if consumers could take full advantage of the bandwidth that's available, but throttling and data caps make that difficult. Are Apple users really missing out if users will be quickly throttled anyway for using the bandwidth that's available to them?

    • Comcast sent me an email 6 weeks ago informing me that they are increasing my speeds.

      Ah, now I can hit the 1TB cap even faster!

      Fortunately got in on their $109 uncapped gigabit this week.

      • For me Comcast was charging $250 for that same plan.

        Fortunately I just moved and no more crapcast. Of course now my service caps out at 50mbs and the only offer 100mbs as a top speed. Still that is plenty fast enough for one tv and a couple of laptops to stream what they need to.

        The fact that my internal network runs at gigabyte speeds(I maxed out my wifi at 260mbs ). It is pretty good.

        • by dhaen ( 892570 )
          Heck, in the UK we had better than 100mbs twenty years ago, when I was on 56Kb/s dialup. In fact voice was better than that.
    • The problem isn't with the device it is with the carriers. We have the ability to surpass home broadband speed over wireless but the carriers just charge us too much.
      These faster chips is like getting a high end sports car, while only driving it in city traffic.

    • What if you can only connect to a slow 2G or 3G data link if you can't connect to the higher speed link?
  • Who cares if they're based in Cupertino, California?

    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      "Journalists" with almost nothing to say have to fill in their stories with useless information that everyone already knows to make them longer & get paid more.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, it's a habit journalists have developed to uniquely identify an entity: there are multiple people with the same names in many cities, and there used to be many companies with names similar enough to be confusing, so it became habit to include enough info to disambiguate; e.g., so John Arthur Smith doesn't get fired because John Adam Smith was arrested for a crime.

        • by dhaen ( 892570 )
          It's really irritating, like saying "London, England". If it's not the main one or original one then fine, qualify it with the locale, otherwise it's just a waste of breath.
    • Word count.

      ^^ split up to increase my word count.

      ^^^^ Commented on to further increase my word count.

  • by TheMiddleRoad ( 1153113 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @02:14AM (#54590393)

    Any company, including chip makers and cellular providers, who think that Apple is their friend or partner is just fooling themselves. Apple is all for screwing everybody, from software makers to glass makers to consumers. How about that new AppleCare warranty with the huge deductible? No thanks. Not coming back to the brand. Enjoying this on my Alienware laptop with an OLED display AND touchscreen.

    • Any company, including chip makers and cellular providers, who think that Apple is their friend or partner is just fooling themselves. Apple is all for screwing everybody, from software makers to glass makers to consumers. How about that new AppleCare warranty with the huge deductible? No thanks. Not coming back to the brand. Enjoying this on my Alienware laptop with an OLED display AND touchscreen.

      The Internet compels me to inquire... You mad, bro? ;)

      • Yup. Pretty mad. I used to pay more for quality and a better OS. Now I can pay more for fancy box with a poor UI and slower hardware.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They seem to be friendlier to the end product user than the alternatives offered by Google. But, you're not worried about how Apple treats you as a customer, your concern is the business relationship Apple has with other businesses.

      You're probably an idiot.

    • Welcome to the Walmart world. If you aren't fucking your supply chain, you aren't doing it right

  • Nothing new here, even with the iPhone 7, the variant with the Intel modem is slower [cultofmac.com]. Heck, the iPhone 6S had two different CPU suppliers [engadget.com], and battery life differences cropped up over that. Oh yeah, and the original iPhone had some LCD screens with a negative black issue [howardforums.com].

    I'm sure the faithful will still line up to play the iPhone 8 lottery. Do you feel lucky?

    • I'm actually about to buy an iphone 7 because I've discovered that it has a feature that no other phone has:

      -bluetooth power class 1. (100mw)

      Most devices are class 2 (10mw), which means they're good for approx 10 meters. If you don't live in an urban area where you are wading through an electromagnetic swamp, or only use your device indoors, your phone. If I walk outside, I'm lucky if I can go through a single song without the signal getting scrambled on me. It's incredibly annoying.

      I tried looking for a

      • You're using Bluetooth for something it wasn't designed for. You want regular WiFi instead.

        As for playing music, why would you even consider using crap tinny headphones while at home? I have yet to see non-crappy bluetooth ones, and good ones are too heavy to be comfortable mobile (note: heavy doesn't imply good -- case in point: Apple's Beats are weighted to resemble good gear). Thus, for decent music you either use proper headphones when sitting or speakers. Speakers do not suffer from any wireless is

        • I use my ear pods at home with my phone cradled or charging. I also use my regular Sennheiser earphones... or my bluetooth speaker... or my actual speakers with a real receiver/amplifier. It all depends on what's more convenient at the time... Sometimes I just want to listen to a podcast (or even some music I don't care that much about) while I cook or do other chores and activities where the cable gets in the way and might actually be dangerous... either in the kitchen or at night while my girlfriend is sl

      • I'm actually about to buy an iphone 7 because I've discovered that it has a feature that no other phone has:

        -bluetooth power class 1. (100mw)

        ....

        I'll try to get one with a qualcomm chip though. Not so much for the bandwidth, but it looks like it can deal with a weaker carrier signal before cutting out, compared to intel.

        I doubt that there is any way that you can specify that, since it comes under the same ordering part number. If you have to be sure of that, get your iPhone 7 from either Verizon or Sprint. Since their legacy networks are CDMA, in places where there is no 4G, that's what they have to fall back on, and it's something that the Intel chipset can't support, since that is Qualcomm patented. If you get your iPhone 7 from either AT&T or T-Mobile or the Apple Store, there is no way you can control what you

      • For anyone who is interested, I've purchased an iphone 7 and a set of BeatX bluetooth headphones.

        My experiments have shown that just the BeatX bluetooth alone is overwhelmingly superior to pretty much every bluetooth headset I've own previously. I've been using them daily. The sound quality is decent (for in-ear headphones, at least), and I have not had a single signal interruption in the couple weeks I've used it.

        I found an immediate improvement in connectivity even with my previous iphone, but with the

    • Is there any service provider yet that can make use of the features that are only in Qualcomm modems? At the time the complaints about the Intel modems came out there were no such providers and the difference would only be shown in a test lab.

  • If the carriers want to make substantive changes, they should feel free to increase backhaul capacity. Otherwise for most of us you're just trading physical transmission speed for time spent in some buffer.

    • You speaking as if backhaul capacity hasn't shot up dramatically over the last few years, not only to each cell but also major trunking links between carriers.

      There's a magic formula to building out a system, and that formula is not ensuring 100% bandwidth for 100% load for the 1% of the day that this scenario happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The hardware manufacturers have to realize that data caps are choking any demand for higher speeds.

    Hell, 3G speeds of ~15 Mbps is good enough. The only reason to go higher is to maintain compatibility with whatever technology is being introduced.

    • This. Unless you're using your phone as a modem on your computer, the current 50Mb/s speed plus is more than adequate, especially with many networks having stupidly expensive data costs.
      • "640K should be good enough...."

        • "640K should be good enough...."

          What a poor comparison, 640K maximum was a software limitation, and then as hardware evolved over about 10 years, the software started to hold back capabilities of newer hardware, the old hardware from the time the software was built, would still worked have worked fine. And also be aware that what you're quoting is made up [wired.com].

          At one point 640K was "enough", then quite a while later it wasn't. While undoubtedly 50Mb/s will at some point be "too slow", in the meantime for almost all of today's smartphone need

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Saturday June 10, 2017 @04:08AM (#54590555)

    My Android Phones have MediaTek chips in them, and some have T-Mobile's Band 19 support. How will this impact my MediaTek Devices? Some only support HSPA+ while others LTE and Band 19 LTE.

  • Apple is always striving to be different. If they want to truly demonstrate that, then put upgrades over greed.

    Actually put green initiatives first and give consumers a removable battery so phones could last a hell of a lot longer. Provide a good amount of memory for all models up front. Help stop the stupidity of making something we humans carry around daily out of glass.

    We're sure as hell not going to be maxing out that pointless ludicrous-speed modem anytime soon, since US carriers are addicted to th

    • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

      Yes you could always get an Android with a removable battery but you still end up getting phones more often if you actually want an up to date OS.

      On the other hand, iOS 11 will support all phones introduced since 2013.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Why the fuck does it bother you that Apple sells what they want to sell? They don't force a single person on this planet to buy any of their products. If you don't like what they offer, don't buy anything from them. You are a stupid, obsessed, piece of shit. You are an idiot without peer.

      • by jcr ( 53032 )

        You are an idiot without peer.

        Sadly, this is not the case. He has far too many peers.

        -jcr

  • Why are people so obsessed with wireless speed? We're already past the point where, unless your downloading very large files or whatnot, you can't possibly interact with the data faster than you're receiving it. Heck, you're probably spending more time waiting for the connection to the server to be made and respond to your request, than downloading the actual data.

    Not only that, but depending where you live, most people can't even get an unlimited bandwidth plan, which means that even at current speeds, y

    • The faster the data-transfer is complete, the quicker the modem will drop back down to low-power mode
  • By the time the carriers actually manage to roll this out to most areas, Apple will probably be delivering the iPhone 9 that will include chips that will handle it. Most people won't care anyway, as they can't read/send enough Tweets to matter.
    • If not then, you can line up again at the Apple Store to trade in your Iphone 9 for an Iphone 10. It's a cultural experience! A lifestyle choice!

  • I was looking forward to blowing through my 5GB monthly data cap in 40 seconds. Now I'll have to wait a whole additional year for Apple to deliver gigabit chips. (Oh, and then EIGHT years for carriers to ACTUALLY DELIVER speeds that high in more than just 2 cities in the country.)

    • I was just looking forward to faster page loads and improved battery life because the modem can be powered up for smaller bursts of time. But your hypothetical outweighs my real-world experience.

      Really, you're starting to seem desperate, Applebots.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        The modem in my iPhone 6 is already capable of faster speeds than I can get from any carrier. If you happen to live downtown in a major city in the US, you might, at 3 AM on a Monday morning, get within 10% of the top theoretical speed of whatever technology your carrier uses.

      • I was just looking forward to faster page loads and improved battery life because the modem can be powered up for smaller bursts of time.

        You'd be better served with an ad-blocker. You won't see faster page loads from that theoretical speed increase.

  • Apple fans just "trust" Apple and buy whatever they're selling, regardless of technological inferiority. When 4G service was rolling out, the iPhone 4 was only 3G-capable [iphonefaq.org]. That didn't stop it from being a runaway success. Apple fans also use cognitive dissonance to ignore technological superiority in other products until it shows up in an Apple product, at which point it suddenly becomes the best thing imaginable.
    • LG introduced the first touchscreen-only phone, beating the iPhone by a half year. But mo
    • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

      And this is why the infamous "less space than a Nomad, no wireless. Lame" saying could only have been born on Slashdot.

      The iPhone when it was introduced, wasn't just a "touch screen phone." Did the LG that came out six months before hand have multitouch, a real HTML 5 browser, a decent mail client, media player, visual voicemail (which was unique at the time) , and a full desktop class OS that within a year could run the caliber of 3rd party apps that the iPhone could run?

      Was the fingerprint reader on th

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        As a rule, slash-shits who hate Apple make up straw men and then burn them via 10,000 gallons of napalm. I never heard a single person ever claim Apple "invented" touchscreen phones, except in slashdot posts.

    • by dhaen ( 892570 )
      I'm an apple user and I don't trust them an inch, I check everything meticulously. Yes I had an early LG touch phone - it was rubbish. Apple will get an OLED screen when it's able to buy them from Samsung, will it be any advantage? I don't know. I'm waiting for a kind of colour transreflective screen that works in daylight. Now that would be a big step in reducing power consumption.
  • Google translate, maps are the must have killer apps. So no I don't care.

    But what is funny is that there is a sticker on my phone proudly proclaiming that it has a Qualcomm modem. I thought that was odd, but now I see why..

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@earthlink . n et> on Saturday June 10, 2017 @01:43PM (#54592853)

    I hear so many people complaining about Apple being "lame" because their products don't do what they want. My reply? "Don't buy it then."

    I'm trying to understand this vocal hate of Apple. It's one thing to make a brand preference but another to plaster it on the internet and bumper stickers. I like Ford and Pepsi products but I don't put a "piss on Chevy" bumper sticker on my truck or wear Pepsi T-shirts. I used to wear an Apple ball cap all the time because it was given to me and I like to wear ball caps. I stopped wearing it because people felt the need to comment on it, and few of the comments were nice.

    I buy Apple stuff and I buy stuff from their competitors. If you think I made a bad choice in my purchases then could you at least be nice about making your point? I'd rather you keep it to yourself unless I ask but be nice regardless.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      I think it's because people are supremely jealous of a company that is so wildly successful as Apple, when that company doesn't make a product they like. They seem to feel that if they aren't catered to, the company has no right to do well.

  • Since when dual-sourcing has become a "complicated way" ? Multi-sourcing is a rather common way to operate in the electronics industry.
  • I think Apple is avoiding trying to incorporate Gigabit LTE (for now) due to the same issue that made Apple avoid LTE in 2011: the Gigabit LTE radio could result in very fast battery drain running in Gigabit LTE mode.

    Remember, in 2011 the iPhone 4S did not incorporate LTE, which was starting to become available at the time on Android phones (starting with the HTC ThunderBolt). Anyone who remembers using the ThunderBolt remembers how fast the battery drained running in LTE mode, given the state of the art of

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