It looks like 2019 is going to be a big year with the roll out of mobile 5G. Many phone manufacturers will be scrambling to get 5G-capable devices on shelves throughout the year, but once again, we’re hearing today that Apple may not be one of them. In fact, we might not see an iPhone capable of tapping into 5G networks until sometime in 2020.
If you’ve been following recent rumors and reports, this probably won’t come as a surprise to you. We’ve heard before that Apple won’t release a 5G iPhone in 2019, choosing instead to wait until 2020. With that in mind, this new information we’re hearing today is merely more to add to a growing pile of rumors that state Apple’s hesitancy to be one of 5G’s early adopters.
Today’s report comes from Bloomberg, which spoke to people familiar with Apple’s plans. Those sources don’t give any reason for Apple’s delay in rolling out a 5G iPhone, but it’s speculated that its ongoing disagreements with Qualcomm might be one of the driving factors. Apple may instead choose to use 5G modems from Intel, but as Bloomberg points out, Intel probably won’t have those modems ready for 2019’s iPhones.
Beyond its quarrels with Qualcomm, Apple may simply be taking a “wait and see” approach to 5G. While its arrival certainly is exciting, the design of 5G hardware definitely won’t be perfected out of the gate. We can probably expect 5G antennas to take up a lot of space and 5G modems to use a lot of power, so Apple may be waiting until those components are more refined and efficient before it decides to add them to an iPhone.
Whatever the reason, it isn’t all that shocking to hear that Apple’s decided to wait on 5G. The company did the same thing with 3G and 4G during those respective roll outs, so this move to hold off on 5G until 2020 is simply par for the course. Even though we’ve seen this before, it’s a decision that could come back to bite Apple, as there seems to be a lot excitement behind mobile 5G.
Apple will certainly have a lot of competitors looking to get 5G phones out the door as soon as possible, and you can bet that carriers will put a lot of effort into promoting phones that can take advantage of their shiny, new 5G networks. At a time when iPhone sales seem to be lagging at least a little bit, it probably isn’t the best idea to let your competitors get a leg up on your flagship device.
As always, take this report with a grain of salt – we won’t have confirmed details about the next iPhone until it’s officially revealed next year. Still, we’ve had multiple reports claim that Apple is waiting on 5G now, so be prepared for Tim Cook to get on stage next September and announce an iPhone with no mention of 5G whatsoever.