Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in a recent investor note (via MacRumors), says that he now expects all 2020 iPhones to be 5G ready. He had previously written that only two of the three iPhone versions would have 5G capabilities, but he has now changed his mind.
The reasoning he gives is based on the likelihood that Android-using rivals will have moved to 5G even in their cheaper handsets. And now that Apple has acquired Intel’s smartphone modem arm, it has the resources it needs to aid its 5G development efforts. In addition, 5G is useful for augmented reality applications, which is something Apple clearly has an interest in based on its under-development T288 mixed reality system.
This doesn’t mean that 2020 iPhones will use Apple-made modems though. Apple will use Qualcomm-supplied components for the time being since the dispute between the two has been settled, including in the first generation of 5G iPhones next year, assuming all the different rumors are correct.
While you shouldn’t just believe any rumor you hear, Kuo is a reliable indicator of what Apple is up to, thanks to his strong links with Apple’s Asian business partners that provide him with insider information. He’s been proven right many times before, so hopefully he’s on the money once again.