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There's one big mystery still surrounding the iPhone

  • Apple needs to address Gigabit LTE networks on Tuesday.
  • Qualcomm provides modems that support the faster technology but Intel does not.
  • Apple typically sources from both Qualcomm and Intel.


CNBC: iPhone featured
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple will likely unveil the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus during an event on Tuesday.

The tech giant will highlight a ton of new features. There's one important feature Apple needs to address: Gigabit LTE.

This term might sound like gibberish but listen up if you're interested in Apple's new iPhones: Qualcomm is currently the only chipmaker rolling out modems with support for the next-generation Gigabit LTE networks that carriers are beginning to roll out this year. Apple typically sources its modems from Qualcomm and Intel, but Intel hasn't launched its Gigabit LTE modems yet. It's a conundrum CNET first reported in April.

That means Apple is either using Qualcomm for all of its modems, which seems unlikely given that would cause supply constraints, it doesn't have plans for Gigabit LTE at all this year, or it has developed its own modem.

Gigabit LTE is a big deal.

It's almost like the move from 3G to 4G LTE. Instead of downloading movies in minutes, you'll be able to do so in seconds. This means streaming higher-quality video on the go without interruptions, faster document downloads while you're sitting in the airport and more.

Apple may sit on the sidelines, especially since the new networks are still in their infancy. However, folks who live in the first markets who own new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835-powered smartphones, such as the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, LG V30, Galaxy Note 8 and more, will be able to surf at fast speeds than the new iPhone.