Bloomberg scribes Ian King, Mark Gurman, and Scott Moritz says Apple won’t release a 5G iPhone until at least 2020. The trio say Apple will wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before it makes its flagship product 5G-capable.
Apple’s reluctance to make the jump into 5G in the same time frame as its competitors, such as Samsung, may make it easier for those rivals to grab market share by releasing phones that connect to 5G networks, which will provide a massive increase in mobile data speeds when they are introduced in 2019.
As with 3G and 4G, the two previous generations of mobile technology, Apple will wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before its main product gets the capability to access them, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the company’s plans.
Apple’s previous calculations — proven correct — were that the new networks and the first versions of rival smartphones would come with problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump. This time, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade, making Apple’s decision to wait riskier. The networks will open the floodgates to new types of mobile computing, 5G advocates say.
Apple’s reluctance to jump onboard with cutting-edge technologies such as 5G in the past hasn’t proven to be an issue sales-wise. The original iPhone was not 3G-capable, even though that was the standard at the time of its release. The iPhone 4 didn’t offer true 4G LTE, but still proved popular.
However, the leap from 4G to 5G is so great that it could become a significant selling point for new devices that include it in their features list.Samsung, Oppo, and Huawei all have indicated they plan to offer 5G handsets in their upcoming model year.
“Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology,” said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. But if they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted.”