APPLE might not launch a 5G iPhone until 2021 – potentially years after its rivals have released multiple 5G models.
That’s the latest report from top Apple experts who say the company is struggling to get a 5G chip ready in time.
5G is the next generation of mobile internet, expected to deliver blisteringly fast download speeds – changing the way we use our handsets forever.
You’ll need a 5G phone contract – but you’ll also need a smartphone with a 5G chip inside, which lets it connect to the network.
Apple rivals are already hard at work on 5G phones, and Samsung has even announced two: the Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy S10 5G Edition.
But according to expert analyst Timothy Arcuri, Apple will fail to launch a 5G iPhone in both 2019 and 2020.
In an investor note obtained by CNBC, Acuri wrote that the lack of a 5G iPhone is “not good ” for Apple.
And he added that there’s “increasing potential that Apple may not be able to ship a 5G iPhone for 2020”.
Apple is currently engaged in legal warfare with top chipmaker Qualcomm, which likely rules the firm out as a supplier of 5G chips.
And Acuri doesn’t think rival Intel will have a chip ready for the iPhone in the time either.
The analyst added that Samsung and MediaTek – which both make chips – “are unlikely solutions”.
Apple is reportedly aiming for a 2021 release, but Arcuri says even that is still a “big technical hurdle”.
We spoke to another top analyst who reckons that a 2020 release is still possible, but unlikely.
“We believe best case scenario Apple gets a 5G phone in late 2020 but likely now it’s looking like 2021,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, speaking to The Sun.
“[Apple CEO Tim] Cook and Cupertino have missed the 5G boat and are now playing from behind the eight ball vs Samsung and other competitors.
“The Qualcomm situation has further exacerbated this situation which has poured salt on the wounds for Apple enthusiasts and investors waiting for a 5G catalyst.”
How fast will 5G be?
Here's what you need to know…
- 5G handsets will provide significantly faster internet speeds than modern handsets.
- Some users will be able to download several gigabits of data every second.
- At speeds of 1 gigabit-per-second, it would take eight seconds to download 1 gigabyte of data.
- Netflix says 4K video takes up about 7 gigabytes of space per hour of footage.
- So downloading an hour-and-a-half Netflix film in 4K to watch offline would require roughly 10GB of space.
- With a 5G connection, that would take just 1 minute and 20 seconds.
- And regular HD footage takes up about 3GB of footage per hour, so the same movie could be nabbed in High Definition roughly half the time.
- Qualcomm says one of its 5G chips – the Snapdragon X50 – promises around 4.5 gigabits-per-second speeds, based on testing.
- That could cut a 4K movie download down to around 20 seconds, if networks can beam those sorts of speeds to actual users.
If true, it could be a major fail for Apple.
Earlier this year, Qualcomm exec Jim Tran subtly slammed Apple over the delay.
“If you’re going to bring a device in 2020, you’re definitely going to be late for 5G,” blasted Jim Tran, who heads up handset tech at Qualcomm,” he told CES 2019 tech show attendees.
Qualcomm is a chip-making giant that is working with phone companies on supporting 5G.
Its new Snapdragon 855 smartphone chip can handle super-fast 5G connections.
And Qualcomm is working with Samsung and LG to get the chip inside 2019 smartphones.
“We’re ready to take consumers to a new age of 5G,” told reporters at this week’s CES 2019 tech show in Las Vegas.
“5G will be a reality in 2019. There are over 20 plus operators committed to working with Qualcomm to deliver this to consumers.”
5G is expected to deliver significant boosts to smartphone internet speeds.
“You’ll be able to have 8K video streaming, where today you might only have 720p [screen resolution],” explained Tran.
“You’ll be able to download 4K movies in seconds.”
We’ve asked Apple for comment and will update this story with any response.
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