We already expected Apple to use Intel modems in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro because Apple’s renewed relationship with Qualcomm came too late in the year for it to swap over to Qualcomm modems, so PCMag‘s news isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s useful to have confirmation.
PCMag says that Intel and Qualcomm-based devices have different menu configurations for the field test screens, and Apple’s newest devices use the Intel layout.
We figured this out because the field test menus on Intel-based and Qualcomm-based iPhones have different menu items, and the menu items have stayed consistent through the generations. (I checked on models from the 6s generation up to the XR.)
According to Apple, there is one model of each of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max sold in the US. With one of each device in hand, I went to the field test mode and found that it had an Intel layout.
The field test information does not specify which Intel modem Apple is using, but the new iPhones are most likely equipped with the XMM 7660, the final modem that Intel produced before shutting down.
PCMag says that it expects the new iPhones will feature 20 percent faster LTE speeds than last year’s model, but testing will need to be done to confirm. The iPhone 11 will be somewhat slower than the iPhone 11 Pro because while it features Gigabit-class LTE support this year, it has 2×2 MIMO instead of 4×4 MIMO.
Early tests shared just after the iPhone event on September 10 suggested the iPhone 11 Pro was 13 percent faster than the iPhone XS, but there was no information on how the speed comparison was conducted.
Apple has used Intel modems exclusively in recent iPhones due to its legal battle with Qualcomm, but earlier this year, Apple and Qualcomm settled their differences and inked a new deal that will see Apple using Qualcomm modems in its devices for the next few years.
Apple plans to use Qualcomm technology in the 2020 iPhone that’s expected to feature 5G support, but Apple is also developing its own modem technology and purchased much of Intel’s modem division to further its goals. Apple’s ultimate aim is to craft its own modem chips in house, reducing its reliance on Qualcomm, and the company has reportedly set a 2021 goal for itself.