Apple is Throttling Certain iPhone 7 Models' LTE Modems
To keep supply up, and for cost-savings and flexibility, Apple contracted two manufacturers to provide LTE modems for their latest phones. Both the Intel XMM 3360 and Qualcomm X12 can be found in iPhone 7s, but even though Apple says both modems, "meet or exceed all of Apple's wireless performance standards, quality metrics, and reliability testing," the truth is a bit more complicated.
The T-Mobile and AT&T iPhone 7s are equipped with the Intel modem, while Verizon and Sprint phones come with a Qualcomm modem. The issue with this is that the Qualcomm chip is technically capable of downloading data at a faster rate than the Intel chip. However, researchers at Twin Prime and Cellular Insights have found that when testing iPhone 7s, this isn't the case.
Instead of risking anger from T-Mobile and AT&T customers, Apple decided to hobble the Verizon and Sprint versions of the iPhone 7 to make their data transmission speeds on par. Although most users won't be troubled by the lack of speed, some might feel slighted that the capabilities of their phones are being artificially held back to "even the playing field."
As it stands, Apple and Intel have declined to comment directly on the situation. Qualcomm has stated, "Companies that "de-feature or go with a less-advanced modem" may be left behind as the networks offer faster data speeds." With Verizon's new LTE-Advanced hitting select cities in the U.S., and the iPhone 7 being touted as compatible with the latest Verizon network update, this might end up being a sticky situation for Apple.