5G iPhone unlikely until 2020, given Intel modem announcement

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 22
An iPhone capable of connecting to a carrier's 5G mobile network will not happen this year, an announcement from Intel indicates, with the chip producer's modems using the high-speed cellular communications technology not expected to appear in smartphones and mobile devices until 2020.

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


Apple is currently believed to be leaving out 5G connectivity as a feature of the 2019 iPhones, in favor of waiting another year before adding support for the wireless technology. While speculation and analysis indicates that is likely to be the case, Intel has seemingly confirmed it won't be able to help Apple if it decided to add 5G to the iPhone this year.

Intel executives advised to Reuters on Friday devices using its 5G modems won't go on sale until 2020. While Intel does not name specific companies that are affected by the announcement, as it is a major supplier of modems to Apple, it effectively infers this year's iPhone models won't be 5G-enabled if they use Intel's modems.

Intel networking chip chief Sandra Riviera advised sample 5G modem chips will ship to vendors this year. Non-consumer 5G products, including networking equipment, will ship this year, but consumer-oriented devices using Intel's modem are not expected by Riviera to launch this year at all.

Earlier reports opened up the possibility of a 5G modem being included in a 2019 iPhone, with the launch of the XMM 8160 5G modem in November being made half a year earlier than originally scheduled. At the time, Intel advised its plan was to ship the 5G modem in the second half of 2019, with commercial devices using it thought to start shipping in the first half of 2020.

Intel is not the only company to have created a 5G-capable modem. On Tuesday, Qualcomm revealed the Snapdragon X55 5G modem with the potential to offer download speeds of up to 7 gigabits per second and support for "all major frequency bands," but the ongoing legal battle with Apple means it won't be making an appearance in an iPhone anytime soon.

In testimony from Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins for the FTC's antitrust trial against Qualcomm published in January, it was revealed Apple looked into the possibility of tapping MediaTek or Samsung to supply 5G modems, as a further way to avoid Qualcomm's modems if Intel failed to deliver. It was not advised whether Apple would use a 5G modem for 2019, nor if a deal was reached with either of the two potential modem suppliers.

The 2020 iPhones may not even use a modem designed by Intel or anyone else at all, as Apple is believed to be working on bringing the design of the component in-house, as it has done for other elements like the A-series processors. In early February, it was reported Apple's internal hardware teams were being restructured, with the relocation of the modem team to directly under the head of hardware suggesting a push towards a 5G modem may be on the cards.
applesnoranges
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    But but Samsung and Android phones will have it this year, a full year ahead of Apple. /s

    I think we all know the troublesome results of the new modems would result in less usable devices if they didn't wait until at least next year for them to become standardized.
  • Reply 2 of 79
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,443administrator
    If you can't see your post, re-read the commenting guidelines.

    Anyway, regarding the subject material, the wait until 2020 for 5G isn't a bad thing. There isn't going to be a network to speak of, in much the same way that Apple waited until LTE was built out better.
    applesnorangeschiaracerhomie3
  • Reply 3 of 79
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    I know Qualcomm wants to thump its marketing chest with 5G, but I as a consumer couldn't care less about 5G being in my phone.  It's not a fully-baked standard, and it will be at LEAST 2020 until the major telcos upgrade their networks to 5G.  That's potentially two extra unreleased phones away and I'd rather wait for that, than buy one now.
    albegarc
  • Reply 4 of 79
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 306member
    Until there’s an actual network? Meh. But otoh I don’t care about future proof and others who don’t upgrade their phones as often as I may. 
  • Reply 5 of 79
    If 5G is as fast as I've read about, I may just cancel my home phone and home internet. "Their major advantage is that 5G networks achieve much higher data rates than previous cellular networks, up to 10 Gbps; which is faster than current cable internet, and 100 times faster than the previous cellular technology, 4G LTE.[7][8] "
    curtis hannahGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 79
    ciacia Posts: 77member
    If 5G is as fast as I've read about, I may just cancel my home phone and home internet. "Their major advantage is that 5G networks achieve much higher data rates than previous cellular networks, up to 10 Gbps; which is faster than current cable internet, and 100 times faster than the previous cellular technology, 4G LTE.[7][8] "
    Just think, you could have all this AND a 50GB cap!
    wonkothesanestompychiaSpamSandwich
  • Reply 7 of 79
    So at 7 gigabits per second, how many minutes will it be before I use up all my “unlimited” data and get throttled back to near dial-up speed?
    hammeroftruthchia
  • Reply 8 of 79
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    If 5G is as fast as I've read about, I may just cancel my home phone and home internet. "Their major advantage is that 5G networks achieve much higher data rates than previous cellular networks, up to 10 Gbps; which is faster than current cable internet, and 100 times faster than the previous cellular technology, 4G LTE.[7][8] "
    The best fiber to the home advertises rates of 1gb/s.  I'll be long gone before mobile speeds hit what QC's claim.  There's simply no way a cell tower will provide that kind of bandwidth to every single wireless user in the next decade, if not longer.  

    Total marketing BS.
    stompy
  • Reply 9 of 79
    If you can't see your post, re-read the commenting guidelines.

    Anyway, regarding the subject material, the wait until 2020 for 5G isn't a bad thing. There isn't going to be a network to speak of, in much the same way that Apple waited until LTE was built out better.
    Even assuming that that is true (which I'm not sure that it is -- at least not for major urban areas) it is irrelevant.  Most people don't replace a phone after a year -- they are keeping it several years.   So, any phone they buy will be locked into an obsolete network for the life of the phone -- say 2022 -- 2023 or even later.

    Apple has a problem.  They won't deal with Qualcomm.   Trump won't let them deal with Huawei.  And Intel is floundering (Can we even trust their predictions any more?).   In House may be their only option, but that could, potentially, add even more wrinkles depending on how up to speed their modem team is.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 79
    Surprise, not.

    Typical Intel 'on track' schedule, or more like totally derailed just like their 10nm efforts.
    edited February 22 GeorgeBMaccaladanian
  • Reply 11 of 79
    A plus to this might be to force Apple into putting its modem team into high gear -- which could have knock-off impact on Home Automation.   It sounds like in-home 5G could have a significant impact on IoT devices in home -- and Apple could offer their exceptional levels of security and integration -- both of which are critical factors in IoT.
    caladanian
  • Reply 12 of 79
    TELUS in Canada has been working with Huawei for a few years to prepare for the 5G rollout on their carrier networks. I wonder how that's changing given Huawei being in hot water lately. 2020 sounds realistic if they need to change equipment providers.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 79
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    If you can't see your post, re-read the commenting guidelines.

    Anyway, regarding the subject material, the wait until 2020 for 5G isn't a bad thing. There isn't going to be a network to speak of, in much the same way that Apple waited until LTE was built out better.
    Even assuming that that is true (which I'm not sure that it is -- at least not for major urban areas) it is irrelevant.  Most people don't replace a phone after a year -- they are keeping it several years.   So, any phone they buy will be locked into an obsolete network for the life of the phone -- say 2022 -- 2023 or even later.

    Apple has a problem.  They won't deal with Qualcomm.   Trump won't let them deal with Huawei.  And Intel is floundering (Can we even trust their predictions any more?).   In House may be their only option, but that could, potentially, add even more wrinkles depending on how up to speed their modem team is.  
    Apple only has a short-term problem.  There is nothing for me to believe that they will not have their own custom modem in place by the time 5G has been fully-baked and standardized.  QC shot it's own foot, Intel (like IBM with the PPC) can't scale to Apple's needs, so like the old saying... if you want it done right, do it yourself.

    Will be interesting to see if Qualcomm and Intel become just a shadow of their former self in 5-10 years after Apple gives them both the finger and goes it's own way sans them, and the drama/baggage they bring along.

    caladanian
  • Reply 14 of 79
    JFC_PA said:
    Until there’s an actual network? Meh. But otoh I don’t care about future proof and others who don’t upgrade their phones as often as I may. 
    Yeh , if you get a new phone every year or maybe two, this will not have a lot impact -- especially if you don't live in an urban environment.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 79
    TELUS in Canada has been working with Huawei for a few years to prepare for the 5G rollout on their carrier networks. I wonder how that's changing given Huawei being in hot water lately. 2020 sounds realistic if they need to change equipment providers.
    That spy-gate thing is coming under increasing suspicion by a number of countries.   It's sounding like it was more a just MAGA thing.
  • Reply 16 of 79
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,443administrator
    TELUS in Canada has been working with Huawei for a few years to prepare for the 5G rollout on their carrier networks. I wonder how that's changing given Huawei being in hot water lately. 2020 sounds realistic if they need to change equipment providers.
    That spy-gate thing is coming under increasing suspicion by a number of countries.   It's sounding like it was more a just MAGA thing.
    The military took it off of procurement lists in 2014. Source: people I know and https://www.bbc.com/news/business-29620442 et al.
    edited February 22
  • Reply 17 of 79
    I don't understand Apple Fanboys (I'm one of them - at least love my iPhone) to condemn other companies that bring 5G to their devices... Why is it okay for Apple to wait another year - just because the network availability isn't 100% When someone buying a device - they are not buying for 6 months an year- the devices last many years... so far devices to include the tech that's future-proofs them isn't a bad thing... Whey are there 3D depths sensing cameras, or processors so powerful that current OSes don't utilize... it's simply because the hardware is available while other aspects of say AR, or processor usage may be higher in coming years... So, I'm always on the side of more tech that not If Apple had (or might just) decided to include 5G this year... all of the Apple Fanboys would be commenting positive... predicably... 5G modems aren't changing from 2019 to 2020... so there's no good explanation... Having said that all - I really hope carriers work on doing their bit - and roll out 5G soon!!!
    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 79
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,971member
    If you can't see your post, re-read the commenting guidelines.

    Anyway, regarding the subject material, the wait until 2020 for 5G isn't a bad thing. There isn't going to be a network to speak of, in much the same way that Apple waited until LTE was built out better.
    Well, yes, but that won’t stop the caterwauling about how Apple is behind and Samsung is greatest gift ever to be bestowed on mankind. It will be hung around Apple’s neck like a dead rat and the tech media will beat Apple over the head with it. Heck, they’re already doing it with C|net (owned by CBS) falling all over itself to heap praise and glory on Samsung’s royal head.
  • Reply 19 of 79

    Anyway, regarding the subject material, the wait until 2020 for 5G isn't a bad thing. There isn't going to be a network to speak of, in much the same way that Apple waited until LTE was built out better.
    You are not recognizing that this puts Apple in a real bind. On the one hand, yes, they will incur the additional cost of making the next iPhone compatible with what will surely be a partially implemented network. But on the other hand, many people (like me) will wait until 2020 to upgrade, since there is zero reason to buy something that will be technologically obsolete a year later.

    How should Apple navigate this trade-off right after experiencing one of the toughest years they've had financially thanks to decelerating iPhone sales?

    Btw, I don't think the two transitions (to LTE v. to 5G) are anywhere near the same thing. Moving from 3G to LTE was like moving from DSL to cable-based internet (for example, I routinely clock 290 mbps download speeds on my Comcast internet, while a DSL I had before that rarely cracked 5-8 mbps). Moving from LTE to 5G is more like moving from (early) dial-up to cable.

    GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamavon b7
  • Reply 20 of 79
    Mintz said:
    I don't understand Apple Fanboys (I'm one of them - at least love my iPhone) to condemn other companies that bring 5G to their devices... Why is it okay for Apple to wait another year - just because the network availability isn't 100% When someone buying a device - they are not buying for 6 months an year- the devices last many years... so far devices to include the tech that's future-proofs them isn't a bad thing... Whey are there 3D depths sensing cameras, or processors so powerful that current OSes don't utilize... it's simply because the hardware is available while other aspects of say AR, or processor usage may be higher in coming years... So, I'm always on the side of more tech that not If Apple had (or might just) decided to include 5G this year... all of the Apple Fanboys would be commenting positive... predicably... 5G modems aren't changing from 2019 to 2020... so there's no good explanation... Having said that all - I really hope carriers work on doing their bit - and roll out 5G soon!!!
    The reason could be the fact that 5G isn’t a standard that will have abundant network hardware right away. There are very few hardware manufacturers that have 5G hardware ready to go or in final beta.

    The carriers also have to contend with backwards compatibility with existing network hardware. This is a big issue. 

    There aren’t enough 5G players in the hardware business to justify spending the money to make a 5G handset. Who knows if there will be changes to the standard before 2020?

    it seems that this is a plan pushed by Qualcomm to get Apple back to negotiating chips for the iPhone.  They are the ones behind the carriers to start marketing 5G when the infrastructure isn’t even ready. 
    chia
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