Apple Reportedly Throttling iPhone 7 Models With Qualcomm Modems To Match Versions With Intel Modems
This week, a report ousted Apple's decision to throttle the Qualcomm modem found in most of its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models to match the performance of the Intel modem found in other versions. Now, according to sources close to the matter, it's absolutely the case but is there a real issue? The issue involves Apple's need to dual-source the iPhone 7's modem block with either a Qualcomm X12 LTE modem or an Intel XMM 7360 chip.
As a company that sells millions upon millions of smartphones, Apple needs to plan every launch and production roll-out very strategically and supply chain consistency is critical, hence the need for multiple sources of key components. Further, even if the same model lineup uses two different chips in a key area of the design, keeping them as close in spec performance-wise to one another means that every iPhone 7 customer will enjoy the same experience. Regardless, from the user perspective, it's not ideal to have a performance area in our devices hamstrung or untapped.
If Apple were able to reliably stick to one vendor - in this case, Qualcomm - then every iPhone 7 owner would be able to enjoy slightly improved wireless performance. However, that "slightly" is the operative word. Apple is adamant about the fact that there is no "discernible" difference between any one of the iPhone 7s, but that only tells us that their performance is set to be equal. It doesn't tell us, however, what the Qualcomm chip could be delivering if it were left wide open to perform to its fullest potential.
Nonetheless, as nice as it would be to have the option to "unlock" the Qualcomm chip, Apple has to go this route to keep things fair amongst not only consumers, but carriers, too. If Verizon's iPhones performed better wirelessly than AT&T's, it wouldn't sit well with the big T that has been saddled with what some might consider a slightly inferior communications engine.
Image credit: iFixit