Skip to main content

Here's Why Apple's 5G iPhone Isn't Coming Until 2020

Apple's hopes of having a 5G iPhone on store shelves in 2019 might have been dashed.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The tech giant has decided to nix plans for a 5G iPhone in 2019 and will instead offer it up in 2020 at the earliest, Bloomberg is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans.

According to the report, Apple is taking a cue from an old playbook and waiting a year after its competitors launch 5G phones to offer it in its own device. The company reasons, according to the report, that waiting will allow all of the technical problems to get worked out and a larger market to form that it can take advantage of.

Indeed, Apple used a similar tack with 3G and 4G technology and opted to wait a year or so after other handset makers offered the technology before it followed suit.

MORE: Here's When to Expect AirPods 2

However, sources Bloomberg spoke to said that Apple's decision this time around could be risky. They noted that 5G is a much bigger upgrade from 3G to 4G and they believe that by not offering the technology, Samsung and others could take a big lead in the smartphone market that Apple might have a hard time catching up to.

There have been reports about Apple's 5G plans for months, but none have said that the company's decision is based on a desire to wait and see what happens. Instead, those reports have said that Apple wanted to bring 5G to its iPhone in 2019, but because of a spat with Qualcomm, has been forced to use Intel chips. Those Intel chips are not power-efficient, according to the reports, and have caused iPhones Apple tested to overheat.

Other companies, including Samsung, have opted to use Qualcomm 5G chips, according to reports. But because Apple is in a patent dispute with Qualcomm, the company has no choice but to rely on Intel. Huawei is also making 5G chips, but its products can't be used due to U.S. government concerns over Chinese espionage.

Either way, it appears clear that 5G isn't coming to the iPhone in 2019. And that could make the iPhone look rather hobbled in comparison to its Android foes.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.