Intel report indicates that a 5G iPhone won’t happen until 2020

Wherefore art thou, 5G?
Wherefore art thou, 5G?

Image: vicky leta/mashable

The 5G future might be on its way. But for iPhone owners, it’ll be delayed.

An Intel executive told members of the press that its 5G modems likely wouldn’t appear in “products in market” until 2020, according to Reuters. Apple is Intel’s primary mobile phone customer. So Intel’s update certainly sounds like it’s talking about iPhones.

The news from Intel follows two 2018 reports that made similar claims. Sources familiar with Apple’s operations told Bloomberg in Dec. 2018 that iPhones with 5G modems wouldn’t appear until “at least” 2020. A single source informed Fast Company in Nov. 2018 of the same.

Intel did say that it is pursuing 5G modem deals with other non-smartphone customers, such as cars. But the news puts Intel’s — and Apple’s — 5G efforts significantly behind its rivals. Some Android phones,  including Samsung, will come equipped with 5G connectivity in 2019. And rival chipmaker Qualcomm (which Apple ousted as a chip provider in 2017) is already unveiling its second gen 5G chip.

As Mashable’s Stan Schroeder has pointed out, Apple has been late to adopt new network capabilities before. But first-gen iterations of new technology are often unnecessarily big and battery sucking. 

As the ISPs, chip makers, and device manufacturers actually figure out what it takes to live in a “5G future,” perhaps Apple and Intel will be able to conserve time and resources — while letting the other guys make those early mistakes. Only time will tell.

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