In short: Apple's new iPhone XS can't keep up with Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 in LTE speeds despite significant improvements over its predecessor, according to research by PC Mag, All testing was done in a controlled environment, where in some instances, the difference between the iPhone XS and the Qualcomm-toting rival group, including Samsung's Galaxy Note 9, was mostly negligible. In the very weakest and very strongest signal tests, the new iPhone performed better than expected in relation to its rivals, but still lagged through most of the test. PC Mag aggregated nationwide data from Ookla's Speedtest app, finding that the Galaxy Note 9 averaged 43.2 Mbps in the US and 97.7Mbps in Canada, compared to 38.9 and 85.4 for the iPhone XS.
Background: Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max are the first to use the Intel XMM7560 LTE modem, which boasts a number of modern features that weren't in last year's iPhone X. One of the biggest examples of that is 4x4 MIMO, a feature that made all the difference between the two when it came to LTE speeds in this latest test. It allows the use of four separate upload and download channels, as opposed to only two, which means up to twice the possible signal throughput, in optimal conditions.
Impact: The take-home here is fairly plain to see; Apple's battle with Qualcomm is not only in the courts with Apple's newest phones showing a clear disadvantage in networking when compared to direct rivals that use Qualcomm's hardware. Although when compared to previous devices, like the iPhone X, the newer models are a lot better in this respect which should prove reassuring to those looking at upgrading to one of the newer models. For those who are not planning to upgrade, and are experiencing issues following the last major iOS update, the report does note the overall performance after upgraded the iPhone X was considerable better and that an upcoming fix should bring about an end to any major connection issues. Though, it still won't bring the iPhone X much closer to the speeds noted for the newer iPhone models, or those noted here running on Qualcomm hardware.