Apple unlikely to release first 5G iPhone until 2020 or later

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
While some rivals appear set to launch hardware with support for nascent 5G wireless technology in 2019 at some point, Apple looks like it's going to wait another year before making an iPhone that can use them -- like it did twice before.

Mockup with 5G logo on an iPhone XS Max
Mockup with 5G logo on an iPhone XS Max


Bloomberg reports that Apple will wait until at least 2020 before it introduces an iPhone capable of being used on the new 5G carrier services. This would put it behind planned releases by Samsung and expected ones from China's Hauwei and Oppo.

Once again, the report isn't particularly new, nor is it revelatory. Instead, it backs up previous reports from other venues who previously claimed in early November that Apple will use Intel's 5G-capable 8161 modem in iPhones from 2020.

Bloomberg says sources reportedly familiar with the company's plans are claiming that it will be at least a year after 5G launches that Apple will get on board. It claims that Apple is repeating the way it waited to produce phones on 3G and 4G before. In those cases, Apple appeared to calculate that users would stay away from the faster networks until initial problems were solved.

"Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology," Gartner analyst Mark Hung told Bloomberg. "They weren't much impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. If they wait beyond 2020, then I think they'll be impacted."

The analyst may be betting on rapid rollout of 5G across the United States, which is far from a certainty. While the carriers have started testing, and very limited rollouts of the technology, none are planning massive expansion until 2020 and later -- likely not coincidentally the timetable for Apple's deployment of the technology.

Similarly, when the iPhone originally launched on EDGE, there was only limited 3G coverage. Likewise, Apple wasn't first to market with 4G, and waited until the technology was more mature and more fully available when it finally shipped the technology on the iPhone 5.

However, the delay may be less about calculation and more about technology issues. Apple is currently in legal dispute with modem maker Qualcomm. While that Qualcomm is expected to release 5G-capable processors in 2019, Intel's equivalent won't ship until 2020.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    imatimat Posts: 150member
    The countries where the most affluent customers live, and the cities within these countries, will almost certainly have full functional 5 G networks. I think it is a missed opportunity not to deliver in 2019. I think the iPhone XS 2 will have 5G, whereas the iPhone Xr 2 will not. But Apple needs to provide the choice for the markets where customers are willing to pay a premium for its smartphones, because these will be the countries where 5G will almost certainly be available. Moreover 5G offers many advantages besides speed (low latency being one) so the difference in "speed" of a smartphone will be noticeable (from Netflix, ti iCloud, to many other things). 5G also has the promise to allow "sim-less" devices on a greater number of carriers, which seems something Apple is very interested in.
    GeorgeBMacrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 43
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,406member
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    mwhiteimatMacProracerhomie3SpamSandwichJWSCchiacaladanianrepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 43
    GG1GG1 Posts: 215member
    I can see Apple's position here if Intel is used, since Intel may need another year to fine-tune performance, current drain, etc. to Apple's liking. If Qualcomm were used, I believe Apple wouldn't wait till 2020. Just my opinion. (I dislike Qualcomm's business practices, but their modem engineering is best in the business. And Apple know this.)

    And the rollout of 5G will most likely be prematurely marketed (same as 4G, 3G, etc.). And is the "real" global 5G spec ratified yet? I don't think so. Verizon's initial version of 5G won't be the global version, but I don't know what it would take to make it the global version (only software upgrade? if hardware needs to be upgraded, this is a bad move on Verizon's part to be able so say "First to 5G !!!").
  • Reply 5 of 43
    imatimat Posts: 150member

    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    Yes. But in the EU it will be different. And it is a bunch of quite affluent markets. Moreover, the 2 cycle of iPhone X purchasers will be complete, so that group of customers will see their contract open up for renewal and subsidies (quite common in Europe) and will most certainly be on the lookout for a new smartphone.

    ( Excerpt from the 5G Europe Action plan:)

    • Align roadmaps and priorities for a coordinated 5G deployment across all EU Member states, targeting early network introduction by 2018, and moving towards commercial large scale introduction by the end of 2020 at the latest.
    • Make provisional spectrum bands available for 5G ahead of the 2019 World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-19), to be complemented by additional bands as quickly as possible, and work towards a recommended approach for the authorisation of the specific 5G spectrum bands above 6GHz.
    • Promote early deployment in major urban areas and along major transport paths.
    • Promote pan-European multi-stakeholder trials as catalysts to turn technological innovation into full business solutions.
    • Facilitate the implementation of an industry-led venture fund in support of 5G-based innovation.
    • Unite leading actors in working towards the promotion of global standards.
    sapporobabyrtrnsGeorgeBMaccaladanian
  • Reply 6 of 43
    GG1GG1 Posts: 215member
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    I completely agree with your two points. Spot on. 4G isn't even worldwide yet.

    Just like Apple got bashed waiting a year introducing a 3G-capable iPhone.
    brucemc
  • Reply 7 of 43
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 893member
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    And the fact that it isn’t even clear that 5G is necessary for a cell phone. How many people actually need speeds faster than 4G/LTE? This is more about perception than actual need.

    It is interesting to compare this with USB C, though. Apple went all-in with USB C on the MacBooks, saying it was ‘the future,’ at the expense of compromising usability with current standards & equipment, yet they hold off on 5g....
    retrogustotokyojimu
  • Reply 8 of 43
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,862member
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    Mike is spot on with his assessment. Another 5G rollout concern that is starting to pop up in some areas, like where I live, is active push back from local authorities concerning the 5G antennas themselves. I have not seen any 5G antennas but the city councils in a couple of the local communities who actually care about maintaining the aesthetic appeal of their communities are already trying to put the brakes on some of the early 5G adoptions because of the antennas. I'm sure it will be worked out, but there's more to making infrastructure changes than the technology and standards, especially when it's going to be be putting more technocrap in everyone's face. 
    JWSC
  • Reply 9 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    imat said:

    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    Yes. But in the EU it will be different. And it is a bunch of quite affluent markets. Moreover, the 2 cycle of iPhone X purchasers will be complete, so that group of customers will see their contract open up for renewal and subsidies (quite common in Europe) and will most certainly be on the lookout for a new smartphone.

    ( Excerpt from the 5G Europe Action plan:)

    • Align roadmaps and priorities for a coordinated 5G deployment across all EU Member states, targeting early network introduction by 2018, and moving towards commercial large scale introduction by the end of 2020 at the latest.
    • Make provisional spectrum bands available for 5G ahead of the 2019 World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-19), to be complemented by additional bands as quickly as possible, and work towards a recommended approach for the authorisation of the specific 5G spectrum bands above 6GHz.
    • Promote early deployment in major urban areas and along major transport paths.
    • Promote pan-European multi-stakeholder trials as catalysts to turn technological innovation into full business solutions.
    • Facilitate the implementation of an industry-led venture fund in support of 5G-based innovation.
    • Unite leading actors in working towards the promotion of global standards.
    You're correct about affluent markets. However the 5G Europe Action plan is behind, and they've already said that they aren't going hit the 2020 deadline.

    We're not saying that this is Apple's best move. It is what it is, and it is not entirely unexpected.
    chia
  • Reply 10 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator

    MplsP said:
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    And the fact that it isn’t even clear that 5G is necessary for a cell phone. How many people actually need speeds faster than 4G/LTE? This is more about perception than actual need.

    It is interesting to compare this with USB C, though. Apple went all-in with USB C on the MacBooks, saying it was ‘the future,’ at the expense of compromising usability with current standards & equipment, yet they hold off on 5g....
    USB 3.1 type C is a settled standard, and is still USB, just with a different physical connector. 5G isn't that settled.
    chia
  • Reply 11 of 43
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 893member

    MplsP said:
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    And the fact that it isn’t even clear that 5G is necessary for a cell phone. How many people actually need speeds faster than 4G/LTE? This is more about perception than actual need.

    It is interesting to compare this with USB C, though. Apple went all-in with USB C on the MacBooks, saying it was ‘the future,’ at the expense of compromising usability with current standards & equipment, yet they hold off on 5g....
    USB 3.1 type C is a settled standard, and is still USB, just with a different physical connector. 5G isn't that settled.
    True, although usb c is rather a mess and is physically incompatible with(edit: withOUT)  a hardware adapter where as a phone with a 5g modem is still fully compatible as-is. 

    I wonder how manufacturers that have released or developed phones already are planning on dealing with the issue of unsettled standards. If it’s simply a software/firmware issue the. It’s not really as much of a problem. If nota, there may be a lot of unhappy early adopters
    edited December 2018 GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,872administrator
    MplsP said:

    MplsP said:
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    And the fact that it isn’t even clear that 5G is necessary for a cell phone. How many people actually need speeds faster than 4G/LTE? This is more about perception than actual need.

    It is interesting to compare this with USB C, though. Apple went all-in with USB C on the MacBooks, saying it was ‘the future,’ at the expense of compromising usability with current standards & equipment, yet they hold off on 5g....
    USB 3.1 type C is a settled standard, and is still USB, just with a different physical connector. 5G isn't that settled.
    True, although usb c is rather a mess and is physically incompatible with a hardware adapter where as a phone with a 5g modem is still fully compatible as-is. 

    I wonder how manufacturers that have released or developed phones already are planning on dealing with the issue of unsettled standards. If it’s simply a software/firmware issue the. It’s not really as much of a problem. If nota, there may be a lot of unhappy early adopters
    At present, it's like the X carrier uses this method, and Y uses this other, not dissimilar to the existing 4G landscape in the US resulting in multiple SKUs of iPhones for different carriers for a number of reasons technological, and legal. We'll see what happens in the long run.
    edited December 2018 chia
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Just more fake news put out by Bloomberg and Reuters (news) trying to promote uncertanty 
    Apple beats at its own drum.  Fake news and biased opinions without any factual backup is what Reuter’s / Bloomberg have.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    I generally get 50Mbps, but a speed test right now gives me 1.4Mbps.  Carriers need to focus on a consistent reliable 4G network, but that’s poor marketing.

    Companies sell hope of improvement rather than actual improvements.

    For the record, my pathetic 1.4Mbps only started after T-Mobile began mixing in Sprints @#$& network.  Maybe they’re thinking bringing both customers to 5G is easier than mixing in the Sprint garbage successfully.

    Whatever the case, it’s not Apple/Intel hardware that’s the lowest common denominator...
    tht
  • Reply 15 of 43
    imat said:
    The countries where the most affluent customers live, and the cities within these countries, will almost certainly have full functional 5 G networks. I think it is a missed opportunity not to deliver in 2019. I think the iPhone XS 2 will have 5G, whereas the iPhone Xr 2 will not. But Apple needs to provide the choice for the markets where customers are willing to pay a premium for its smartphones, because these will be the countries where 5G will almost certainly be available. Moreover 5G offers many advantages besides speed (low latency being one) so the difference in "speed" of a smartphone will be noticeable (from Netflix, ti iCloud, to many other things). 5G also has the promise to allow "sim-less" devices on a greater number of carriers, which seems something Apple is very interested in.
    No one cares about limited data at ‘5G’ speeds.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    Blah blah blah.

    This is just like the rollout of 4G. Apple waited until the iPhone 5 before adding 4G/LTE even though many other vendors had it much earlier (some even thought the iPhone 4 would have LTE simply because the numbering ‘4’ matches ‘4G’.)

    I remember my iPhone 5 and how spotty LTE coverage was (I live in Vancouver, hardly a rural area). Even in the US a lot of markets didn’t have LTE when the iPhone 5 launched, let alone when the 4S or 4 launched. On my daily commute my iPhone was always searching for and switching between LTE and 3G, much to the dismay of my battery life. I left LTE turned off when I was commuting because of this and only enabled it when I was in a fixed location and I had a stable signal.

    I suspect 5G will be the same and will take a couple years to be widespread. Further, 5G won’t have as much of an impact on users as the jump from 3G to 4G did.

    5G will just be used as another irrelevant talking point to claim Apple is behind. 
    edited December 2018 SoliJWSCMplsPchiaretrogusto
  • Reply 17 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    👆What @ericthehalfbee said.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 893member
    Soli said:
    👆What @ericthehalfbee said.
    absolutely!
  • Reply 19 of 43
    MplsP said:
    I would count that as a mistake on Apple's part.   And a failure on Intel's part.

    Multiple vendors are rolling out 5G and, it appears that, the U.S. may be falling behind China.

    But, most importantly, the stories are presented that "It will be delayed a year".  
    But, since most people keep their phones for 2-4 years, the impact on MOST iPhone customers will be far more than waiting "a year".

    And that multi-year delay may have significant ramifications:   We have seen that progress in communications technologies -- from T1 & copper dial-up lines to cable/WiFi to wireless to LTE -- have had some of the greatest impact on computing of any other factor.   And, 5G has a potential to be one of biggest advances in that long history.

    Is there any reason for this delay other than the U.S. - China security feud (thus blocking Chinese vendors) or the Apple-Qualcomm feud or Intel's incompetence?  In other words, is there any valid (technical) reason for the delay?  If the technology is there, why would Apple wait?

    I for one would not want to spend a grand on a phone that is soon to be obsolete.
    1) There won't be a wide US rollout in 2020, or even 2021. Most major metros won't even see any 5G until 2021, much less the rest of the country.
    2) There are still 5G "standards" to shake out, as well as implementation details, because once again, we've got battling ideas from the carriers on what is best.
    And the fact that it isn’t even clear that 5G is necessary for a cell phone. How many people actually need speeds faster than 4G/LTE? This is more about perception than actual need.

    It is interesting to compare this with USB C, though. Apple went all-in with USB C on the MacBooks, saying it was ‘the future,’ at the expense of compromising usability with current standards & equipment, yet they hold off on 5g....
    Because one of those provides immediate benefit to Apple and end user; the other does not.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 330member
    When you sell a product that your customers expect to last 4 years or more you better be sure that the technology you put inside is the right stuff. Apple will not be late to the game, they will just make sure they have the rights pieces to play the game to win.
    GeorgeBMac
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