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Intel confirms the first 5G iPhone won’t arrive until 2020 at the earliest

February 22nd, 2019 at 8:08 PM

If you were holding out hope that Apple might release a 5G enabled iPhone later this year, we’ve got bad news for you. According to a report from Reuters, Intel earlier today announced that its 5G modems will not be available until 2020. And seeing as how Apple now relies upon Intel for its chips — thanks to its ongoing legal dispute with Qualcomm — we now have official confirmation that iPhones with support for 5G won’t hit stores shelves until 2020 at the absolute earliest.

Specifically, Sandra Rivera of Intel articulated that while Intel’s 5G modems will hit manufacturers this year, it doesn’t anticipate that the modems will end up in any smartphones until next year.

Word of Apple’s delayed entry into the speedy world of 5G shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. For starters, a report from Bloomberg a few months ago revealed that Apple was holding off on 5G until 2020, if not later.

What’s more, it’s worth noting that Apple has historically been slow to adopt new networking technologies. Remember, the original iPhone didn’t launch with 3G and Apple didn’t adopt LTE support until the 2012 release of the iPhone 5. That said, and especially in light of the somewhat slow but steady roll out of 5G, it makes sense why Apple isn’t exactly in a rush to introduce iPhones with 5G support. After all, what’s the point in introducing a 5G iPhone when nationwide and global coverage will be spotty at best?

While there’s no denying that the impending arrival of 5G and 5G enabled smartphones is an absolute game-changer, the reality is that it will take some time before 5G coverage reaches a point as to make paying a premium for a 5G smartphone worth the added expense. That said, we can only hope that Apple isn’t too patient and embraces 5G in 2020 as opposed to waiting until 2021.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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