Apple Unlikely to Launch 5G iPhone Until 2020

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 3 Dec 2018

iPhone Xs Max back

While major Android OEMs like Samsung and OnePlus will be releasing a 5G variant of their flagship device next year, Apple does not have any plans to jump on the 5G bandwagon until at least 2020. The company is going to take its time to transition to the new technology just like it had done in the past with 3G and 4G.

There’s a lot of hype and noise surrounding 5G and the benefits it will offer including faster data speeds and lower latency. Almost all OEMs are making efforts to ensure they launch a 5G capable smartphone next year. However, there’s still no word about 5G network or its coverage from network operators which is more important.

Like with every new technology, the first wave of 5G smartphones are going to be riddled with issues. This includes poor battery life and issues with network reception. The same scenario played out when the first wave of 3G and 4G devices were released in the market. Apple, thus, wants to wait it out for these issues to be ironed out before it launches an iPhone with 5G connectivity.

Another reason behind Apple’s decision is that Intel’s 5G chips are not going to be ready in time for the 2019 iPhone. Apple’s former modem supplier Qualcomm is going to have 5G chips ready for 2019 flagships but the company is unlikely to source any components from it due to the ongoing legal issues between them.

Our Take

Apple has always been slow in adopting new network technology. It was only with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max this year that the company offered Gigabit LTE connectivity, something which Android smartphones had started offering from last year itself.

Nonetheless, given that 5G networks are still non-existent or in nascent stages and that the first wave of 5G devices are going to have some or the other issues, it does make sense for Apple to not include 5G connectivity on its 2019 iPhones. And the lack of 5G connectivity is unlikely to have any major impact on iPhone sales next year.

[Via Bloomberg]