With the 2017 iPhone lineup already out there in the wild, attention is already starting to diverge to what Apple will launch in 2018.
The most recent analyst note from KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo makes some predictions regarding the modems inside the 2018 iPhone family, suggesting that Apple will tap both Intel and Qualcomm to reach faster LTE speeds for next year’s smartphones.
Specifically, Kuo expects Apple will use Intel’s XMM 7560 modem and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X20 modem. Both of these new chips support 4×4 MIMO, as compared to the current chips which support 2×2 MIMO. As a result of the change, Kuo believes that LTE transmission in 2018 iPhones will be significantly improved compared to this year’s models.
“New baseband chips from Intel & Qualcomm will significantly boost transmission speed of new 2H18 iPhone models thanks to supporting 4×4 MIMO antenna design: We believe that 2H18 new iPhones will upgrade baseband chips from Intel’s XMM 7480 and Qualcomm’s MDM 9655 in 2H17 to Intel’s XMM 7560 and Qualcomm’s SDX 20. As both new chips support 4×4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2×2 MIMO in 2H17, we anticipate LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly. We believe Intel will supply Apple with 70-80% or more of required baseband chips.”
As mentioned in the note, Kuo believes that Intel will be hoarding the lion’s share of baseband chip orders, racking upwards of 80% for Apple. Qualcomm will be filling in the gaps in 2018, if the note is accurate. Which would certainly make sense, considering Apple and Qualcomm are in a bitter legal battle which does not appear to have a resolution on the horizon.
This latest note comes up just a couple of days after an LTE speed test between the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone X showed the former handset beating the latter. Faster LTE speeds for the 2018 iPhone lineup would certainly be a welcomed addition.