While we’ve seen various Android smartphones announced at MWC that will come with support for 5G, Apple’s stance on 5G is still unclear. An earlier report suggested that Apple’s 5G iPhones could only launch in 2020, but a recent report from Bloomberg cites analyst Matthew Ramsay from Cowen who claims that Apple is currently in a bit of a tough spot.
According to Ramsay, he claims that Apple currently has four options with 5G, with the most “reasonable” option being that the company will build their own modems instead of having to rely on their suppliers. This would not be the first time we’ve heard such rumors, but according to Ramsay, it could prove to be a very expensive endeavor and might make it difficult for Apple to launch a 5G iPhone in 2020.
The other options suggested by Ramsay includes using “inferior” modems from Intel that will not come with mmWave capabilities. Another option would be to source from other companies such as Samsung which could result in “tough commercial terms”. There were reports suggested that MediaTek could be in the running, but Ramsay says that MediaTek’s stack is too far behind in terms of timeline.
Last but not least it could see Apple attempt to settle their ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm where they could end up using the company’s 5G modems. Qualcomm is already supplying 5G modems to various Android handset makers, but given the state of the legal battle, we doubt that it will be resolved anytime soon.