APPLE’s 2019 iPhone range will get lightning-fast 5G download speeds that let you download 4K movies in seconds.
The next-generation of mobile data technology is expected to arrive between 2019 to 2020 – and Apple wants to be the first to cram it into handsets.
That means roping in a 5G modem chip supplier as Apple doesn’t make the processors, which power the rapid downloads, in-house.
But that could be about to change.
The rumour mill is rife with news about potential partnerships and severed ties between Apple and its 5G partners, which could see it go it alone and make the chips itself.
That wouldn’t come as a surprise: the tech giant already makes its A11 Bionic smartphone processors in-house, so why not do the same for modems?
If that turns out to be the case, the biggest casualty will be its current modem supplier – alongside chip manufacturing giant Qualcomm – Intel.
Apple has reportedly notified Intel that it won’t be using its 5G modems in its 2020 iPhone line-up, according to internal company documents reviewed by Calcalist.
What is 5G and when is it coming to the UK?
The next-generation mobile tech is almost ready to upgrade your smartphone…
- There is no official definition of 5G but it is thought to be similar to its predecessors, 3G and 4G.
- It will be a wireless connection built specifically to give devices – like your mobile phone or tablet – a faster and more reliable internet connection.
- The “G” in 5G stands for “generation” – that’s why it is known as “next-generation technology”.
- Companies such as BT, Vodaphone and Nokia have also given the development of 5G their support.
- The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) alliance states that for something to be considered 5G it must offer faster data rates.
- NGMN is hoping for speeds of 20Gbps and one millisecond latency.
- This would provide download speeds which are 40 times faster than 4G.
- NGMN believes 5G would provide an era of being able to download files in the blink of an eye – vital to the success of smart homes and self-driving cars.
- Tests conducted by 5G modem-maker Qualcomm, on the other hand, showed speeds eight times faster than 4G.
- Qualcomm’s trials showed an improvement in browsing download speeds from a 4G average of 56 megabits-per-second, to more than 490 megabits-per-second for 5G.
- There’s no concrete timeline for its arrival: some radio technology-makers say 2019, while networks like O2 are less optimistic, claiming it won’t land in the UK till 200 plus.
The news contradicts an earlier tip, from renowned Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo, that suggested Intel will be the sole supplier for this year’s iPhones as Apple looks to move away from its reliance on Qualcomm – the legal dispute between the two companies is likely to blame for that decision.
Another report speculates that Apple is eyeing MediaTek – an Intel rival from Taiwan – for the new mobile network tech.
In a statement, Intel didn’t directly refute the rumours: “Intel’s 5G customer engagements and roadmap have not changed for 2018 through 2020. We remain committed to our 5G plans and projects,” said the firm.
To sum up, at this stage Apple could side with Intel, MediaTek, Qualcomm (or even take the DIY route) on 5G modems for the 2019 iPhone.
No matter the outcome, iPhone owners will be the real winners.
The arrival of 5G in 2019 or 2020 could see download speeds improved by around nine times compared to 4G.
Qualcomm recently gave The Sun the lowdown on real-world network speeds fuelled by the new tech.
Browsing download speeds improved from a 4G average of 56 megabits-per-second, to more than 490 megabits-per-second for an average 5G user.
At that speed, an hour-long high-quality BBC iPlayer show would download in just 10 seconds.
When 5G internet actually rolls out in Britain over the next few years, these are the sorts of speeds you can genuinely expect to see.
And it’s not just Apple aiming top be at the forefront of the mobile network tech – Qualcomm, which also builds processors for Samsung, says it’s new 5G modem range will be used by Android giants like LG, Sony, and HTC.
Though we don’t know much about Apple’s 2019 iPhones, that’s not the case for this year’s range.
The tech giant is tipped to launch three new handsets in September, all of which boast an iPhone X-style design (so a notch and loads of screen space).
One of these devices will reportedly be Apple’s biggest iPhone ever, complete with a 6.5-inch screen.
Plus, the phones will apparently come in five colours including grey, white, blue, red, and orange.
They probably won’t pack 5G modems, but chances are you won’t have to wait long for iPhones that boast the next-gen mobile networking tech.