“It turns out not all iPhone 7 [units] are created equal,” Ian King and Scott Moritz report for Bloomberg. “The latest Apple Inc. smartphones that run on Verizon Communications Inc.’s network are technically capable of downloading data faster than those from AT&T Inc. Yet in testing, the two phones perform about the same, according to researchers at Twin Prime Inc. and Cellular Insights.”
“Neither firm is clear on the reason, but Twin Prime says it may be because Apple isn’t using all the potential of a crucial component in the Verizon version,” King and Moritz report. “‘The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon’s network capabilities,’ said Gabriel Tavridis, head of product at Twin Prime. ‘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.'”
“It would be an unusual step for a major phone company to restrain its devices. Normally, companies battle to make the fastest, most reliable handsets. Apple may be doing this because it wants to ensure a uniform iPhone experience, according to analysts,” King and Moritz report. “‘They don’t want one version to get the reputation that it is better,’ said Jan Dawson, founder of technology advisory firm Jackdaw Research LLC.”
“The component at the root of the performance gap is the modem,” King and Moritz report. “The iPhone 7 is the first Apple phone for several years to have versions with different modems. Verizon users get an iPhone 7 with Qualcomm’s latest X12 modem — capable of downloading data at up to 600 megabits per second. AT&T customers get a handset with an Intel modem that tops out at 450 megabits per second. Apple likely went with multiple suppliers to keep component costs in check.”
“In field tests by Twin Prime, the Verizon version is a little faster than its AT&T stablemate — but not as fast as it could be. The firm proved this by doing the same tests on the Samsung Galaxy S7, which also runs on Verizon’s network and uses the Qualcomm X12,” King and Moritz report. “The S7 was about twice as fast as the iPhone 7 running on the same network with the same modem chip, Twin Prime found. This was based on data from more than 100,000 phones downloading an image in large U.S. cities.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Ugh. If true that the Qualcomm modem has been dumbed down to match Intel’s fledgling shot at an iPhone modem, then this is bad choice by Apple.
In fact, it would make the following statements sound like utter bullshit:
• We’re very simple people at Apple. We focus on making the world’s best products and enriching people’s lives. — Tim Cook
• I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that — it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do. — Tim Cook
It sure looks like Apple has chosen to benefit themselves (getting multiple modem suppliers to drive down cost, even if one is markedly inferior) at the expense of their iPhone customers who, if they all had superior Qualcomm modems inside their iPhones, would be getting nearly twice the Mbps than they are now.
In a nutshell: Apple may have chosen to maximize their potential profits over delighting their customers.
We’re not delighted, Tim.
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