Another report has surfaced, this time at Fast Company that suggests that Apple’s plans for a 5G compatible iPhone will be aimed at 2020. The report cites that Apple is intent on using the Intel 8161 5G modem when it does roll out to the iPhone.
The 5G standard was finalized earlier this year and carriers here in the United States are not working hard to get support out for it on their networks. AT&T and Verizon both aim to have limited next generation network coverage this year.
Intel to this point has been the sole modem provider for the iPhone and while Intel has certainly had teething problems on their prototype modem currently in play, the 8160, they are working hard on the 10-nanometer 8161 to resolve those issues.
The report suggests that the biggest problem with the current modem is heat, given the work the modem is having to do with the early millimeter-wave spectrum that is currently being used by carriers to test and do early roll outs of the next generation network. Apple is reportedly not happy about these heat issues and has gone as far as to talk to MediaTek about a 5G modem chip should Intel not be able to sort things out.
All of this actually fits timing exceptionally well for Apple. Realistically, carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile will still be doing broad roll outs of 5G into their networks throughout 2019. Coverage will be spotty and inefficient. That gives Apple, and by extension Intel, time to let the carriers sort out their networks before introducing a 5G iPhone. As I reported a couple of weeks back when AT&T announced their 5G would be rolling out in a few weeks, Apple rarely is on the cutting edge of technologies. It is in the company’s ethos to wait for a technology then perfect it prior to rolling it out. 5G will be no exception.