iPhone 8 owners may not be able to take advantage of the faster data speeds expected to be available later this year in the USA, says a Bloomberg report, and Apple’s dispute with Qualcomm may be the reason.

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and other carriers have promised to introduce a new generation of wireless data later in the year, offering speeds as high as a gigabit per second – some fifty times faster than typically available today. But it appears that this speed won’t be supported in the iPhone 8, even if the modems it contains are compatible …

The Bloomberg report says that while Qualcomm offers a suitable modem capable of gigabit speeds, Apple’s dispute with the company means that it is trying to loosen its dependence on the chipmaker. It says that Apple will therefore use a mix of modems from Qualcomm and Intel, and that the Intel ones won’t support the faster speeds.

To avoid different iPhone owners experiencing wildly different speeds depending on which modem their phone happens to use, Apple will limit the speed of the Qualcomm modems.

Until Intel is able to offer its chips with matching features, Apple won’t enable some of capabilities of the phones running with Qualcomm modems, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public.

As the piece notes, Apple is generally slow to adopt faster wireless data standards.

The original iPhone launched in 2007 without support for 3G networks, and it was still wildly successful. It wasn’t until 2012 that the iPhone supported LTE technology that’s the basis of 4G networks – a year after Samsung Electronics Co. added that capability to its smartphones.

It appears this will also be the case this year, Samsung’s S8 flagship is already equipped with the modem needed for gigabit speeds.

Apple’s legal battles with Qualcomm are growing increasingly heated, with the chipmaker recently accusing Apple of blackmail.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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