The iPhone 11 will hit stores in less than two months, but none of the three iPhones Apple is getting ready to launch will feature 5G connectivity. Comparatively, several competing devices will support 5G networks, including the Galaxy Note 10 that launches next week. iPhone fans know better than to be surprised, given that Apple did the same thing with 4G and 3D adoption before. Apple would rather wait for 5G coverage to improve before launching its own 5G devices. And an insider now says not only will Apple launch its first 5G phone next year but that all 2020 iPhones will support the new standard.
The news comes from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who revealed his new prediction in a note to customers. This isn’t the first time Kuo says the first 5G iPhone is coming in 2020. But the analyst amended his previous estimate that said two of the three 2020 iPhones would get 5G connectivity. He now believes that all three iPhone 12 handsets, the likely successors of the iPhone 11, 11 Max, and 11R that will launch in mid-September, will have 5G components on board:
We now believe that all three new 2H20 iPhone models will support 5G for the following reasons. (1) Apple has more resource for developing the 5G iPhone after the acquisition of Intel baseband business. (2) We expect that the prices of 5G Android smartphones will decline to $249-349 USD in 2H20. We believe that 5G Android smartphones, which will be sold at $249-349 USD, will only support Sub-6GHz. But the key is that consumers will think that 5G is the necessary function in 2H20. Therefore, iPhone models which will be sold at higher prices have to support 5G for winning more subsidies from mobile operators and consumers’ purchase intention. (3) Boosting 5G developments could benefit Apple’s AR ecosystem.
The analyst further explained that Apple might be working on two types of 5G iPhones, including devices that support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum and devices that only support Sub-6GHz. These are the versions of 5G out there, with the latter option allowing handset vendors to make cheaper devices. However, mmWave 5G will deliver faster speeds than Sub-6GHz.
Apple may have the intention to launch the 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz, to gain market share by lowering the cost/price for markets which only support Sub-6GHz (e.g., Chinese market). However, 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz and the version which supports mmWave & Sub-6GHz are regarded as different projects even though they share the same form factor design.
Apple will likely use Qualcomm 5G chips in its first 5G iPhones, but the company is also working on its 5G modem. A few days ago, Apple confirmed the rumors that it was interested in Intel’s 5G modem business by acquiring it for $1 billion. Even so, Apple’s first 5G modems aren’t expected until 2021 at the earliest.