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5G-Ready iPhone Isn’t Happening Next Year, Sadly

by Justin Herrick | December 4, 2018December 4, 2018 6:30 am PST

Almost every company in the mobile industry will participate in the arrival of 5G networks next year, but you probably won’t see Apple among them. The Cupertino-based company has decided to hold off on rolling out a 5G-ready iPhone, according to Bloomberg. Rather than going all-in on the technology from the start, Apple reportedly wants to wait until it grows significantly.

The decision should be too surprising. In the past, Apple waited for several technologies to mature before getting behind them. iPhone models were without 4G and NFC while other companies were deeply invested for a few years.

Instead, the iPhone could gain 5G support in 2020. The delay gives competitors an edge in being first, but Apple could learn from their mistakes and release a near-flawless experience.

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The struggle has to do with uneasy business relationships, too. So the decision to skip 5G support in 2019 isn’t driven by a single factor.

Apple found itself waiting as there aren’t satisfactory 5G-enabled modems available. Since the company has been locked into a feud with Qualcomm, Intel will serve as the sole supplier. Intel recently announced that its XMM 8160 modem would be rolled out in the second half of 2019, but Apple’s iPhone should receive a custom unit.

There’s some speculation that, so far, Apple has failed to be impressed by Intel’s work. The custom modem gets too hot and can harm the rest of the components. With that, Intel needs to further develop the modem and meet Apple’s expectations.

Don’t expect Apple to create its own 5G modem, though. While the company has openly recruited for positions in its competitors’ neighborhoods, it’s far from introducing an in-house solution. Apple’s iPhone will continue to leverage 4G networks in 2019, and then 2020 might give us faster and more reliable connectivity.

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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