Apple's 5G iPhone will likely launch in 2021


Bell and Telus are now running various 5G trials with Huawei. Previously, Apple hoped Intel would be able to produce something comparable to get a 5G iPhone to market, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. And Arcuri says that Intel, Apple's main supplier, may not have its modems ready in time by the end of next year.

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Just like previous rumours and analysts notes have indicated, a UBS analyst says there is an increasing likelihood that Apple won't have a 5G iPhone ready for 2020.

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For what it's worth, Intel is confident it could deliver a 5G modem to Apple by 2020: "As we said in November 2018, Intel plans to support customer device launches in 2020 with its XMM 8160 5G multimode modem", an Intel representative told Fast Company. And with Intel already introducing three different managers for the project, things are going to be tricky. The report suggested that Apple's modem partner Intel wasn't delivering what Apple needed so the company was looking to take the reins and phase Intel out.

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The issue is that Apple doesn't have access to Qualcomm's 5G modems due to its ongoing patent dispute with the company. Apparently, the MediaTek modem may not meet Apple's strict standards, and the analyst believes that "Apple does not practically want to partner with Samsung for this component". It reportedly has between 1000 and 1200 engineers working on the chips for future iPhones and has recruited RF engineers from both Intel and Qualcomm to work in a new San Diego development facility. And that probably is not possible because of the company's legal battle against Qualcomm. If Apple is unable to get a 5G iPhone out in time, the company could really fall behind considering the fact that some 5G phones are already launching this year. There's also a possibility Apple could manufacture its own modems, though this is unlikely.