Notably, Apple also waited a while before introducing iPhones with support for 3G and 4G networks.
Apple’s previous calculations -- proven correct -- were that the new networks and the first versions of rival smartphones would come with problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump. This time, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade, making Apple’s decision to wait riskier. The networks will open the floodgates to new types of mobile computing, 5G advocates say.
“Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology,” said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. But if they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted.”
Due to its legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is expected to use Intel modems in its 5G iPhone. Intel recently announced that its XMM 8160 5G modem will be available in the second half of 2019 and will support speeds of up to 6 gigabits per second, three to six times faster than the latest LTE modems.
Apple is expected to select Intel as the exclusive provider of 5G modems for the 2020 iPhone which may use the next generation XMM 8161 modem.