While Android handset makers appear to be eager to push out 5G smartphones in 2019, Apple could actually be planning to take a backseat on 5G iPhones for this year. Instead, last we heard, the company might launch their 5G iPhone in 2020. However, it seems that iPhone users might have to wait longer than that.
According to UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri, Apple’s 5G iPhones might actually be launched in 2021 instead. This is apparently due to the difficulty of sourcing 5G chipsets for the iPhone, and the reason for this is due to several factors. One of those factors is Apple’s ongoing lawsuit with Qualcomm in which Apple had stopped using Qualcomm’s components in its iPhones entirely.
This means that Qualcomm is effectively out as a supplier. Then there is also the issue with Intel in which Arcuri does not believe that Intel’s 5G chipsets could be ready in time for a 2020 launch. He also points out that Samsung and MediaTek’s solutions are “unlikely”. This means that short of Apple making their own 5G modems (which we have heard is something the company could be exploring), the company might end up pushing back the launch of the 5G iPhone by an additional year.
That being said, this isn’t the first time that Apple has been “late” to the party. Back when LTE first started rolling out, Apple also took a while before they officially started to ship iPhones that supported the technology. Ultimately the company will release a 5G iPhone, so now it’s only a question of when.