Apple’s 2019 iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro lineup uses modems from Intel, not Qualcomm. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise though, as Apple renewed there modem relationship with Qualcomm too late to use the San Diego firm’s modems in their 2019 lineup.
A PCMag report confirmed the Intel modems’ presence in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro devices, via the devices’ field test screens. The publication says Intel and Qualcomm-based devices have differing field test screen. Apple’s latest handsets use the Intel screens.
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.
While the field test information doesn’t specify which Intel modem Apple is using in the new iPhones, they are likely using the the XMM 7660, the final 4G modem Intel released before they shut down their modem division.
PCMag expects LTE performance on the new iPhones to show about a 20% improvement over last year’s models, but testing hasn’t yet been performed to confirm that. The iPhone 11 will have somewhat slower performance than the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, as it only has 2×2 MIMO antennas instead of the 4×4 MIMO antennas used in the Pro lineup.
Apple has used Intel modems exclusively in recent iPhones, due to its ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm. However, Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal spat earlier this year, and have agreed on a new deal where Apple will use Qualcomm modems in its devices for the next few years.
Apple is expected to use a Qualcomm 5G modem for their 2020 iPhone lineup. However, Apple is also working on its own 5G modem technology, having purchased much of Intel’s modem division to facilitate the process.