An Infineon chip could be the reason Apple's new iPhone is dropping calls and has unpredictable links to the Internet, according to published reports. Apple plans to fix the Infineon software with an update.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Infineon chip could be at the root of
complaints from around the world that Apple Inc's new iPhone drops
calls and has unpredictable Internet links, according to a research
report from Nomura.
BusinessWeek also reported on its website on Thursday that the
iPhone is suffering from faulty software on an Infineon chip, and that
Apple plans to fix the problem with a software update.
Representatives for Apple and Infineon declined comment.
One of the key attractions of the latest iPhone, which went on sale
in July and sold 1 million in its first weekend, is faster,
third-generation (3G) Web connections when compared to the first iPhone
that was launched in mid-2007.
However, users have complained on websites and blogs that Internet
speeds have been inconsistent and that the phone often reverts to a
slower technology known as Edge even in 3G areas.
Nomura analyst Richard Windsor wrote in a research note that the
problem likely involved a 3G cellular network communications chip made
by Germany's Infineon.
"We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and
radio protocol stack where we are almost certain that Infineon is the
3G supplier," Windsor wrote in the report dated August 12.
"There are too many instances on iPhone blogs and Apple's own
website for it to be coincidence. Furthermore, it is not just the U.S.
but other countries as well," he wrote.
BusinessWeek's online report cited an unidentified source as saying
the problem lay with Infineon technology, which it described as "fairly
new and untested in high volumes outside a lab setting."
BusinessWeek reported that Apple had set up the Infineon chip to
demand a more powerful 3G signal than it needed, resulting in a switch
back to the slower network if there are too many people in the same
area trying to use their iPhone at the same time.
The problem affects 2 percent to 3 percent of iPhone traffic, BusinessWeek said, citing two "well-placed" sources.
Infineon spokesman Guenter Gaugler declined to comment on the
iPhone, but noted that the German chipmaker has been supplying 3G
chipsets to phone makers such as Samsung Electronics without any
Apple tends to restricts its suppliers from talking about their
relationships, but several analysts have cited Infineon as the supplier
of the main processor for the iPhone 3G.
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris declined comment on whether iPhone
was having connection problems or if it was preparing a software fix.
A spokesman for AT&T Inc, the exclusive U.S. carrier for iPhone,
said that it was working well on AT&T's network and that the
carrier had received very few complaints.
"This is not something that's high on our radar screen. It's not
something we've had a lot of complaints about," said AT&T's Mark
(Reporting by Sinead Carew, Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in London; editing by Phil Berlowitz)
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