Following on from this year’s iPhone XS and iPhone XR, Apple’s next batch of new iPhones is due in 2019 – but they could lack the killer feature set to be offered by a number of rivals, including Samsung, when they do launch. Should prospective buyers be concerned?
According to a Bloomberg report co-authored by noted Apple crystal ball gazer Mark Gurman, the Cupertino-based company will “hold off until at least 2020” to introduce a phone with next-generation 5G mobile data speeds.
While commercial 5G networks are set to rollout in the UK, US and other regions in 2019, Bloomberg’s sources – identified only as “people familiar with [Apple’s] plans” – indicate that the 2019 iPhone lineup will stick with 4G.
Such a move would likely see Apple’s next flagship, potentially dubbed the iPhone 11, fall behind the flagship efforts of competitor firms like Samsung, with the South Korean firm widely expected to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10 next year.
It’s a risky proposition given the widespread consumer desire for new technologies, but Apple has form when it comes to delaying the introduction of important new features like 5G: the first iPhone only launched with 2G, despite the availability of 3G, while the iPhone 4S in 2011 stuck with 3G even though was 4G was around.
Industry onlookers posit that one reason Apple might be delaying a 5G iPhone is because of its problematic relationship with leading semiconductor outfit Qualcomm, whose 5G-ready Snapdragon X50 modem will form the heartbeat of most major 5G handsets next year.
The two companies are currently embroiled in a bitter legal battle, however, and Apple instead has a modem supply relationship with Intel. Its first 5G chip isn’t thought to be ready in time for 2019’s iPhone, potentially leaving Apple to bide its time during the next-gen network launch.
This could prove quietly beneficial to iPhone users, though, as 4G rollout was plagued by issues like patchy connectivity.
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