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Qualcomm says Apple is switching to Intel LTE modems this year

Qualcomm and Apple have been throwing punches at each other since January 2017 due to disputes over patents, royalties, and more. According to a statement from Qualcomm, it looks like that fighting might have resulted in some real-world consequences.

Per Qualcomm's Financial Chief George Davis:

We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitor's modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release.

The "competitor" mentioned there is referring to Intel, and while Intel is still one of the largest players in the processor space, Qualcomm's LTE speeds have been proven to be considerably faster than what Intel's' achieved so far with its mobile modems.

Earlier this week, Qualcomm partnered with SpeedTest creator Ookla to show the difference in network performance between the Snapdragon 845 and Intel's XMM7480 and XMM7360 chips. During this testing with "typical speeds", Qualcomm came out on top in every scenario with up to 68% faster download speeds on T-Mobile, 41% faster upload speeds, and 35% slower latency on AT&T.

Even though Qualcomm's modems may not be in this year's upcoming iPhones, that's not to say Apple will rely on Intel for good. According to Financial Chief George Davis:

This is a very dynamic industry. If the opportunity presents itself, I think we will be a supplier of Apple.

Whether you're an Android or iPhone user, what do you think about Apple's decision to go with Intel this year?

Qualcomm wants to own the 'kid watch' market with its new Snapdragon Wear 2500 platform

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

30 Comments
  • If this causes Intel to really step their game up, it'll be a good thing for the whole industry. The more legit challengers Qualcomm has, the better for all of us.
  • Yep more quality competition is always a good thing.
  • Agreed. Could definitely benefit us all.
  • Intel has no incentive to step up their game. They won Apple's business with a lower quality part... the work is done.
  • But they have to keep it
  • If Intel can improve its chips than this would help take away Qualcomm's dominance. Also, not an expert but ppl won't really see that much of difference in speeds unless they re comparing to with a phone that has a Qualcomm chip. I know the Qualcomm chips have better releability with their signals in low signal areas compared currently to Intel's
  • iPhones have slower download speeds than Android phones because they use Intel chips.
  • Not all iphones use intel chips, some (like the verizon versions, have qualcomm chips)
  • Yeah but apple is crippling the Qualcomm one so it performs similar to Intel one.
  • Can I see the source of this information?
  • Try the internet...
  • I see iPhone sales slumping.
  • Not really
  • Nope. Most people don't know/care about these things.
  • Really? Most iPhone users don't care what's actually going on under the hood. Besides, Apple will sell it as a "magical" chip so everyone will believe it's better.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing someone do a paraody of apple doing that before they even announce it 🤣🤣
  • Not "magical" but brave, innovative, elegant or revolutionary or a mix of those words I mentioned.
  • Yeah, unless real-world speeds are noticeably slower than this year's model, no one will (or should) care. The number of users of any platform who know, much less care, about what kind of modem is in their smartphone is vanishingly small.
  • No one should care Apple will sell new iPhone with worse components than this years at even higher price? 😅 Go Apple, go
  • This obviously a hit to Qualcomm and their bottom line but they will be fine. As far as I remember there are Apple phones with Intel modems and Apple phones with Qualcomm modems out in the world today. Apple throttles the speed of their modems anyway so it's not a big deal to them.
  • Competition is good, and boy do Qualcomm need it.
  • We need more than modem competition though. Someone needs to make a viable CPU/GPU combo to take on the Snapdragon line. Samsung is close with Exynos, MediaTek is more concerned with cheap prices, and the Kirin chips will always face trouble getting into USA phones.
  • The lack of competing products isn't as much of an issue as the fact that Qualcomm has a patent portfolio in North America that they can use to make putting competitors' chips in devices very, very expensive.
  • That's what I meant.
  • Unbelievable.
  • At least they are picking one supplier, having worked for At&t, customers calling and complaining that their sister's iPhone is faster than their own and they demand a replacement is a real thing. Froot loops and their Fruity Phones...
  • Intel is going to improve, this is good news for consumers, competition.
  • They haven't in all the years so why now?
  • Are we comparing the latest SD processor to older Intel chips? For what it's worth my iPhone SE beats all the download speeds quoted in the test. I am on EE in the UK.
    How does the SD845 compare in other benchmarks to the Apple processors?
  • Good, maybe Qualcomm now will have the time to focus on the NEXT wearable chip after the one that gets released this fall, so we don’t have to wait years for another upgrade.