iPhone 12 news: 2020 iPhone will have less powerful 5G than expected, but that’s OK

iPhone 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 11 Pro Max. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are not 5G compatible smartphones, which didn’t really surprise anyone when they launched in September 2019. But with Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series having just launched with 5G as standard, we’re anticipating that the iPhone 12 will too. Except perhaps with severe limitations based on a respected Apple analyst’s new prediction.

In a report from Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), the iPhone 12 won’t support 2x2 MIMO uplink, which for those of us not up to speed with technical lingo, is the kind of signal amplifier we expected Apple to use to give the 2020 iPhone 5G capabilities.

Kuo had initially anticipated that Apple would have six of these amplifiers, and would give manufacturers WIN SEMI and Broadcom lots of business in doing so. However, the veteran Apple analyst has updated this prediction, now saying there will only be one or two amplifiers, which will not be of the 2x2 MIMI variety.

This follows news that Apple would be making its own 5G antennas, apparently after deciding that the Qualcomm modules they had planned to use were too bulky for its skinny phone designs.

The strange thing is though, that despite this being a downgrade on paper, Apple might have made a very smart decision. 5G networks are still in their infancy, rolling out slowly and only in very limited areas in major cities in the UK and US. Since these networks are primarily based on 4G technology, at least for the time being, there wouldn’t be that much extra speed to be gained from having the extra antennas anyway.

If Apple’s plan to use its own antennas doesn’t work out, then it won’t be left high and dry. The company has apparently not cut Qualcomm off entirely, and will go back to them if it can’t get its antennas working by some point this summer.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.