In a new report, Bloomberg has revealed why Apple will not only fail to equip its next iPhones with 5G but why iPhones in 2020 are going to struggle to incorporate the technology as well: Apple has run out of options.
Speaking to Cowen, Bloomberg learns Apple’s first option is to “launch 18 months after 5G competition with an inferior modem from Intel likely without mmWave capabilities” (the fastest band of 5G spectrum). This doesn’t fit with Apple’s ‘later-but-better’ approach.
Second is to “source a 5G modem from chief competitor Samsung… [on] “tough commercial terms” which would not be viable at scale. Third is going to Huawei, but ongoing security concerns mean that is “off the table as an option” while “MediaTek’s stack is too far behind in terms of timeline.”
Lastly, there is the dream scenario of Apple settling its global legal disputes with Qualcomm (the world’s largest modem supplier) but that “might it be too late already?” Especially with no sign of compromise and Apple showing its disgust at recent developments.
Even at the extreme end, nothing adds up. Cowen says Apple could buy Intel’s modem business and try to accelerate development internally but this would be “would be VERY difficult against a 2H20 timeline.”
All of which leaves Apple treading water in 2019 but at a serious loose end for its redesigned 2020 iPhone, around which the iPhone’s biggest reinvention yet is expected to take place. In an ideal world, Apple and Qualcomm would simply bury the hatchet, but life isn’t simple and it may well be iPhone buyers who now feel the brunt of that…
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