The New iPhones Won’t Have 5G. Here’s Why

Apple fans may have to wait until September of 2020 to experience the new tech

Apple won't have iPhones with 5G available until 2020 (Youssef Sarhan/Unsplash)

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Apple fans won’t immediately have access to the next generation of phone tech. Fortunately, it may not matter.

5G, the technology that promises speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G with lower latency, won’t be part of this year’s crop of iPhones. You can look to Intel, the current sole supplier of 4G wireless chips for Apple, if you’re looking to place blame.

Last week, Intel cancelled a line of updated 5G chips that were supposed to be for phones set for release in 2020. The cancellation came after several missed deadlines and right after Apple settled a legal issue with rival chipmaker Qualcomm, paving the way for that company to provide 5G chips, though certainly not in time for this year’s new iPhones.

Turns out Apple needs to finalize their phone designs in the spring before their new units arrive in the fall. According to tech analyst Bob O’Donnell, rushing 5G into the iPhone isn’t an option because it foregoes the usual months of necessary product testing.

While Apple fans may have to wait until September of 2020 to experience the new tech, it might be for the best: As of now, Verizon is the only company selling a 5G phone, and coverage is extremely limited (in Dallas, for example, AT&T’s 5G service only works at two locations in the city). As well, the high speeds advertised by 5G are going to take years to get up and running, depending on much spectrum each carrier is using. If history is any example (see: 4G), it could take a few years for the new standard to take hold.

“When 5G is wide available — 2020 at the earliest — Apple may have an iPhone ready,” notes Fortune.

Which, ironically, could be perfect timing.

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