Apple’s response to angry critics has been impressive. Plans for a folding iPhone and Face ID-inspired display miraculously surfaced this week buy some goodwill. But a much bigger obstacle suddenly lies ahead…
The ever-excellent MacRumors has attained a new research note from financial giant Barclays which reveals iPhones will not only miss out on 5G in 2019, but all 2020 models may be restricted to 4G as well.
Barclays explains that the modem design for 2020 iPhones “needs to be set now,” and Intel’s race to ship its first 5G smartphone modem in late 2019 “does not work with Apple’s timeline.”
Compounding this is Apple’s legal fight with Qualcomm. The chip giant is the obvious alternative and its 5G modems are commercially ready. Unfortunately, the two companies are engaged in a ferocious legal battle and Barclays states that time “seems to be running out” for Apple to patch up differences with Qualcomm to plug its Intel-shaped gap.
It also seems Apple has exhausted all alternative avenues.
Apple testified that it approached Samsung and MediaTek as potential suppliers, but doubts have emerged that they can “meet Apple’s production, performance, and cost demands.” Apple has even started working on its own modems, but they are years away from commercial release.
The good news is Apple should get away with it this year. While 5G phones and 5G networks will both launch this year, availability will be limited. But this changes in 2020 and releasing premium iPhones without 5G for the October 2020 to October 2021 lifecycle is marketing suicide.
When Apple and Qualcomm kicked off their legal battle in 2017, it was widely assumed Apple had the upper hand. But it appears the technological tide is turning quickly. Recent Qualcomm victories infuriated Apple and today’s news will do nothing to improve the company’s mood…