The iPhone could be on the verge of a major speed boost. Apple’s smartphone has been rumored to make the jump to 5G, the cellular connection system already spotted in flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Moto Z3. While rumors suggest that a 5G iPhone could come later than its competitors, a new deal with Qualcomm could help bring the device to market.
The company was previously expected to roll out a 5G iPhone in 2020, but a Fast Company report suggests this plan may have been shelved. The issue stems from delays with Intel’s XMM 8160 modem, as Intel would need to send samples to Apple by this summer if it hopes to be included in a September 2020 iPhone. The chip is designed to offer speeds of up to six gigabits per second, but a missed deadline could mean Apple fans waiting longer for these speeds.
A new deal with Qualcomm could help bring plans back on track. The company agreed to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed sum of money to settle a patent dispute, as part of which the chip maker will supply Apple with 5G chips. Analyst Horace Dediu told Inverse this week that it’s too late for the chip to make its way into the 2019 devices, however, adding that “if there is a Qualcomm chipset version it would have been developed in parallel with any other version so that could be slotted for production.”
The update could mean big things for iPhone. The standard was finalized in June 2018, and it’s expected to offer big boosts for all manner of devices including connected cars, wearables, and Internet of Things-enabled devices. Tests from February this year conducted by Qualcomm found that the speeds could jump from 56 Mbps on a regular 4G network up to 1.4 Gbps in select conditions.
Download speeds have always been something of a sore point for Apple. The original iPhone was criticized for not including 3G connectivity back when it launched in 2007, an issue that was rectified with the following year’s update. Similarly, the iPhone 4S skipped 4G back in 2011, despite 29 percent calling on Apple to include the feature. Apple’s iPhone X was also criticized for only offering speeds of around 10 Mbps, which it rectified with the iPhone XS that boosted speeds up to 70 Mbps through an enhanced number of antenna modules. Samsung mocked this weakness in a series of ads released in August:
With 5G, Apple could be along the first to come to market. Here’s what you need to know:
iPhone 5G: When Will It Hit Release Date?
Guessing launch dates for the next iPhone release date isn’t particularly difficult even if it’s a full year away: Apple releases its phones almost like clockwork. Here is how its previous launches stacked up:
- iPhone 8: Announced September 12, 2017. Released September 22.
- iPhone 7: Announced September 7, 2016. Released September 16.
- iPhone 6S: Announced September 9, 2015. Released September 25.
- iPhone 6: Announced September 9, 2014. Released September 19.
- iPhone 5S: Announced September 10, 2013. Released September 20.
- iPhone 5: Announced September 12, 2012. Released September 21.
A recent report claims that Apple will include 5G in its 2020 model of iPhone. Expect an announcement in early September of that year if it comes to fruition. While a launch could come as soon as the same month, the iPhone XR launched the following months and the iPhone X launched two months later, so there’s no guarantees.
The company has already started making plans for the new phone. A new series of hires announced earlier this month show 10 job listings in the San Diego area, with special priority toward millimeter wave specialists. These skills are ideal for use with the iPhone 5G.
This release date could slip back. A December report claimed the company was planning to hold off until 2020 at least. This could enable the company to hit the ground running with a more reliable device, ready for the mainstream. This was later backed up by a further report that suggested, in lieu of 5G connectivity, Apple’s 2019 devices will use a triple-camera array and a Samsung Galaxy-like design.
iPhone 5G: How Will It Offer 5G?
Little is known about what Apple could include in its 2020 models. One report claims Apple will use an Intel 10-nanometer 8161 modem, with an 8060 acting as a testbed. However, there’s an outside chance that the device uses MediaTek to reach these speeds.
Unfortunately, the latest reports indicate that none of these providers will be ready in time. UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote in an analyst note seen by Fast Company that “we do not believe [Intel] will be ready with a single chip backward compatible 5G modem, while others like Samsung/Mediatek are unlikely solutions either technically (Mediatek) or practically (Samsung).”
Qualcomm, Apple’s previous supplier, could be a new source. The two companies agreed to a deal over 5G chips as part of a settlement over a patent dispute.
iPhone 5G: Will It Boost Augmented Reality?
Beyond 5G, the phone may also include more advanced augmented reality features. A previous analysis report claims Apple may include a depth sensor, similar to the one on the front used for face recognition, to measure on the rear the distance from objects.
iPhone 5G: Will It Have a Notch?
The controversial “notch,” introduced with the iPhone X in 2017, could disappear by the time the 2020 iPhone arrives. That would mean a screen that extends all the way to the top with no cutaway. An industry insider told ETNews: “Apple decided to get rid of notch design starting from 2019 models and is having discussions with relevant companies. It seems that Apple is planning to implement full-screen that is more complete to its new iPhones.”
There could be some good news for those looking to save some money while trying out Apple’s latest offerings. A January report claims the company is planning to use organic light-emitting diode screens, or OLED, across the range. This would make a change from the current lineup, that uses LCD screens on the iPhone XR. OLED enables the company to develop more radical designs and hide the notch through software, as the screen is able to switch off individual pixels leading to blacks that blend into the display.
iPhone 5G: Will It Have a Bezel?
While Apple has retained a slight bezel around its phone’s edges, it could take things to a higher level with the 2020 edition. iDropNews has created a concept render of how a future device could look:
iPhone 5G: Will It Use Lightning or USB-C?
The iPhone has used the Lightning charging connector since the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012, but Apple could be planning a switch to a more broadly used standard. The company replaced the Lightning port on this year’s iPad Pro with a USB-C connector, enabling a wider variety of peripherals like cameras to directly plug into the tablet. It also enables the use of 4K external displays with HDR. Apple could make a similar move with the iPhone.
iPhone 5G: Does it Have Wireless Charging?
Apple introduced Qi wireless charging with the launch of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X back in 2017. The iPhone XS, XR and XS Max also included the feature. While Apple was expected to release an AirPower mat capable of charging three devices at once this year, it seems this may not be ready for prime time just yet. Nonetheless, expect the 2020 iPhone to have Qi for starters.
The question is, could Apple offer something more radical? Wi-Charge uses infrared to add power over long distance, while Ossia claims its system can charge a device similar to Wifi.
iPhone 5G: What is the Price?
The next-generation of connectivity is unlikely to come cheap. With the launch of the iPhone XS Max, Apple set a new high price point of $1,099 for the 64GB model. While it’s unclear how Apple will approach that year’s model, it could cost an eye-wateringly high amount.