While we had an inkling it was coming, Apple AAPL +0.36% has now confirmed two iPhone releases earlier than anyone anticipated…
In an official statement to Reuters, Apple has announced modified versions of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are now selling in Germany. And it seems likely these upgraded models (which have arrived two weeks ahead of their leaked schedule) will ultimately go on sale elsewhere too.
Apple iPhone 11 concept – not the only upgraded hardware coming in 2019CONCEPT CREATOR
How are they upgraded? Apple states the models will swap Intel modems for Qualcomm ones, with the latter shown to deliver far superior cellular data performance. Notably, over 1M user tests across T-Mobile and AT&T recorded typical gains of 53-68% using Qualcomm Vs Intel modems and as much as 97-192% in some cases.
Interestingly, however, Apple’s motivation for this change is not performance-related and the company is deeply unhappy about the switch as it is the consequence of a German court order which stopped sales of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 for copyright infringements.
In response, Apple said “Qualcomm is attempting to use injunctions against our products to try to get Apple to succumb to their extortionist demands…To ensure all iPhone models can again be available to customers in Germany, we have no choice but to stop using Intel chips and ship our phones with Qualcomm chips in Germany.”
While due process will ultimately determine whether Apple is right to make these claims, the long and short of it is these iPhones now have better hardware inside. Furthermore, with the German court ruling having the potential to set precedent elsewhere, these changes may be forced upon Apple in other countries as well.
Apple’s iPhone 8 is being re-released with a chipset upgradeAPPLE
Ironically, with flash sales of the iPhone SE demonstrating Apple customers’ appetite for smaller devices, the German court ruling may now lead to a rush of buyers for the Qualcomm-equipped iPhone 8 and iPhone 7.
And with leaks about the iPhone 11 revealing ongoing high prices and disappointing charging out the box, for some, the better move will be to grab (or even import) an enhanced iPhone 8 or iPhone 7 while you still can…