Apple delays 5G iPhone launch as Android makers cash in
Giant phone maker Apple has shelved plans to release a 5G phone in 2019, giving leeway to competitors Samsung, OnePlus and Motorola to dominate the market when customers begin scrambling for handsets with the latest technology near year.
Initially, Samsung and Apple had all promised to unveil the 5G-enabled handset in 2019.
But a December 3 report by Bloomberg news indicates that Apple will wait until 2020 to enable the company to install new networks that are compatible with the new technology.
Apple’s previous calculations — proven correct — were that the new networks and the first versions of rival smartphones would come with problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump.
However, Bloomberg adds that the decision by Apple to wait till 2020 may be related to the company’s feud with Qualcomm Inc., the leader in 5G-enabled chips, and its alliance instead with Intel Corp., which won’t have chips available in time to support 2019 phones.
“Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology,” Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner Inc., is quoted as saying.
“They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. But if they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted.”
The delay could make it easier for Samsung and Verizon to win customers who are eager to connect to 5G networks, which will provide a leap forward in mobile data speeds, up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks.
Qualcomm has also partnered with other smartphone makers who have committed to 5G phones for next year.
U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp is also working with LG Electronics USA to launch a 5G phone in the U.S. in the first half of 2019.
Samsung has already publicly embraced the technology, showing off a 5G home router way back at Mobile World Congress 2017.
This week, at the annual Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit in Maui, is where the 5G concept will be unveiled using Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem on hand, as was the company’s foldable phone a few weeks back.