Apple will not introduce a 5G ready iPhone before 2020, says a report from Fast Company. It claims that the Cupertino-based company would be relying on Intel to supply 5G modems, but those do not appear to meet the company’s requirements. Intel has been partnering Apple since 2015, and the latest iPhone lineup was the first where Intel modems were exclusively used for its phones.
According to the report, Apple plans to launch the first 5G iPhone in 2020, which would run on Intel’s 8161 5G modem chip. While the latter remains under development, Apple will be testing 5G compliance through another Intel modem, the 8060 chip. With the current bandwidth allocation of US’ 5G providers, AT&T and Verizon, lying in the millimetre-wave spectrum, Intel’s modems would need to provide high performance over long durations. The report claims that these modems are generating higher-than-normal levels of heat, which would compromise the iPhone’s battery performance.
Intel is not the only company that is developing 5G modems for smartphones, as Qualcomm and MediaTek are also developing such chipsets. For Android smartphone makers using Qualcomm’s X50 chip, the millimetre-wave 5G network has also caused heating issues. While Apple is not expected to break its tie-up with Intel for iPhone-ready 5G modems, the reports claim that the company has held talks with MediaTek, though that would be considered as “Plan B”.
Meanwhile, Intel has told The Verge that it would remain committed to its 5G projects. The chipmaker was quoted saying that its “5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020.”