Apple might not have a 5G-capable iPhone until 2021

There probably won't be an iPhone with 5G until 2021 thanks to Apple fighting Qualcomm in court, and Intel can't make 5G chips quick enough.

1 minute & 18 seconds read time

Apple might be a little screwed this year and going into 2020 and beyond, as it won't have a 5G-capable iPhone to fight against the mountain of Android smartphones that are launching this year with 5G connectivity.

Apple might not have a 5G-capable iPhone until 2021 |

According to a new investor note from UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri, it might be supply problems that Intel is facing with making 5G chips at the scale that Apple would need it to, for a new iPhone. Apple is already tied up in court with Qualcomm over legal issues so it won't be using a Snapdragon X55 or any Snapdragon 5G chip inside of the new iPhone, so what's next?

The other players in the 5G chip making game are Huawei, which would be a no for Apple, MediaTek which won't have a viable option for a 5G-capable iPhone for a quite a while, leaving the last option as Apple's main competitor: Samsung. Cowen recently told its clients that Apple could "source a 5G modem from chief competitor Samsung" but that would only happen on "tough commercial terms". The use of a 5G chip from Huawei according to Cowen is "off the table as an option" while "MediaTek's stack is too far behind in terms of timeline".

Apple itself is working on its own 5G modem but that could be many years away from happening, leaving Apple in a pickle. It is already behind in countless areas from a hardware perspective, and will now have over a year of flagship smartphones from its competitors launching with 5G connectivity. Apple might not have a 5G-capable iPhone until late 2020 or even into 2021 after looking at all of this new information.

If Apple settings something out with Qualcomm quicker, we might see something happen... but even then, it'll be up to Intel or Samsung to provide 5G modems in the meantime if Apple wants to see 5G inside of an iPhone in the next 18 months.


Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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