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5G iPhone Reportedly Launching in 2020 with Intel Inside

We have some bad news if you were hoping for a 5G iPhone in 2019.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Intel has unveiled its new XMM 8160 chip, which offers 5G support and peak speeds that are "three to six times faster than the latest LTE modems available today." According to Intel, whose comments were earlier reported on by CNET, the company will be able to get the chips up and running by the second half of 2019.

Intel believes that its 5G chips will be making their way to smartphones in early 2020.

Of course, Intel didn't discuss Apple or the company's plans for the iPhone. But Intel's acknowledgement that its 5G chip won't find its way to phones until 2020 is an important detail in the iPhone 5G story.

The other company building 5G chips for smartphones is Qualcomm, a company with which Apple is in a bitter patent dispute. Apple and Qualcomm are at odds over royalties and have engaged in a war of words that effectively sent Apple to Intel to find a 5G for future iPhones.

Qualcomm is believed to be ahead in the 5G chip battle will reportedly help Samsung bring a 5G Galaxy S10 to market in March 2019. Apple had hoped that Intel could do the same, but earlier reports suggested the company was displeased with the Intel chip's performance and has resigned itself to launching a 5G iPhone in 2020.

Now that Intel has confirmed that its first 5G chip won't be available to smartphone makers until early 2020, it seems all but guaranteed that the 5G iPhone won't launch in 2019.

Of course, whether that's really an issue for any customer is debatable. Many smartphone makers are launching 5G phones next year, which would put Apple behind, but 5G availability through carriers will be scant. It's expected that 5G will become widespread in 2020, when the iPhone will apparently start offering the feature.