Qualcomm's Fast X12 LTE Modem is Appropriate Candidate for iPhone 7

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While several rumors point towards Apple switching to Intel as its primary supplier of LTE modems for the iPhone 7 series, the consensus remains that longtime supplier Qualcomm will continue to share a portion of orders.

Assuming at least a percentage of orders go to Qualcomm, which has been the exclusive provider of LTE modems in iPhones for over three years, its X12 modem is a likely candidate for LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity on iPhone 7.

Qualcomm's X12 chipsets, announced in September 2015, feature theoretical LTE category 12 download speeds up to 600 Mbps and LTE category 13 upload speeds up to 150 Mbps. The lineup, including the MDM9x45 and MDM9x40 chipsets, also support LTE Advanced carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, LTE-U small cells, and automatic LTE and Wi-Fi switching.

LTE Advanced enables data transfer across multiple frequencies to allow for higher data rates with lower latency across the network, translating to faster speeds for browsing the web, downloading apps, streaming video, and other data-related tasks.
The MDM9x45 would be an appropriate successor to Qualcomm's MDM9635 modem in the iPhone 6s series, which provides theoretical downlink speeds up to 300 Mbps and uplink speeds up to 50 Mbps. The X12 has already been adopted in several flagship Android smartphones equipped with the Snapdragon 820 processor, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, and Xiaomi Mi5.


Comparatively, Apple is rumored to use Intel's XMM 7360 LTE modem [PDF] with theoretical download speeds up to 450 Mbps and upload speeds up to 100 Mbps. The chip also features LTE Advanced with 3x carrier aggregation and support for up to 29 LTE bands overall, VoLTE, dual SIM cards, and LTE and Wi-Fi interworking.

Provided that rumors about Apple sourcing LTE modems from both Intel and Qualcomm are accurate, it remains unclear how the chipsets will be divided. The split could be based on certain iPhone models or SKUs, or perhaps Apple will elect to use Intel modems in certain regions and Qualcomm modems in others.


Qualcomm also introduced the X16, the world's first announced Gigabit-class LTE modem, in February 2016, but the chipset is unlikely to make its way into iPhones until at least late 2017. The X16 supports 4x20 MHz carrier aggregation to achieve unprecedented theoretical download speeds up to 1 Gbps and peak upload speeds up to 150 Mbps. Real-world speeds, however, are often limited by carriers.

The bottom line for end users is that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus/Pro will likely have much faster peak LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, regardless of whether the chipsets are sourced from Intel, Qualcomm, or a combination of the two. While true speeds ultimately rely upon carriers, the upgrade should be a welcomed improvement for data-heavy users in the U.S. and around the world.

Article Link: Qualcomm's Fast X12 LTE Modem is Appropriate Candidate for iPhone 7
 

GreyOS

macrumors 68040
Apr 12, 2012
3,289
1,617
Weird how they're always striving to develop faster LTE chips and adopt them in phones, but it's hardly the most pressing issue for most people. The average person gets nowhere near the theoretical limits of chips made years ago, let alone new ones, because of real world infrastructure issues.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,690
12,408
Oh no, now will people be obsessing over whether their iphone is Intel inside or Qualcomm?

As for me, it's nothing to get excited about unless they bring some of these advances to the successor to the SE, if there ever is one. I'm so happy with my SE and feeling so done with huge smart phones.
 
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Oblivious.Robot

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2014
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..unlikely to make its way into iPhones until at least late 2017.
Well, it seems like the next years iPhone is truly worth the wait with so many features bound for it over the 2016 model.

Should be most interesting on what they have for us this year.
 

MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
2,786
1,773
I keep getting a pop up on my 6s for carrier update from Verizon I wonder if it's this new LTE advanced? I haven't accepted it yet.
 

AG.47

macrumors newbie
Apr 14, 2016
17
65
Is it more efficient? Nobody cares about these theoretical speeds that no carrier in the world delivers.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,936
14,620
Central U.S.
Qualcomm also introduced the X16, the world's first announced Gigabit-class LTE modem, in February 2016, but the chipset is unlikely to make its way into iPhones until at least late 2017. The X16 supports 4x20 MHz carrier aggregation to achieve unprecedented theoretical download speeds up to 1 Gbps and peak upload speeds up to 150 Mbps. Real-world speeds, however, are often limited by carriers.
A 6GB data plan could be used in 48 seconds on a 1Gbps LTE connection, haha. Sigh…
 

citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
6,010
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San Francisco
Don't see both Qualcomm and Intel modem chips being supported on the same phone; i.e., either chip being able to be used at assembly time - not going to happen. My bet is on Intel starting with the 2017 phone.
 

sziehr

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2009
667
485
This does absolutely nothing if the carrier can not even get the base speed of LTE to your device. So we can march forward to 1 gigabit all we want but VZW and ATT will never even approach those speeds due to there over saturation problem. So this is a pointless feature. They could but a old school low voltage LTE in and not a single customer in america would notice the change.
 
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chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
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CA
Having this kind of dual-sourcing would inspire significant PCB differences amongst the model. In addition to the modem, there are usually support circuits such as envelope trackers, power management, etc. that go along with it. It would be very clear if we got a leaked board that they were different. Qualcomm has a whole line of "RF360" RF chain components that Apple has never fully utilized before.
 
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a.gomez

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2008
924
726
If a phone has the snapdragon 820 it has the X12 modem (like the HTC 10 and Samsung S7 and edge) All this is in the wild, but as always - if the network not there it does not mean anything.
 
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