Apple plans to wait around a year after initial commercial deployment of 5G before releasing an iPhone that is compatible with the next-generation mobile technology, Bloomberg reported.
Citing sources, the news outlet said Apple will follow a strategy it adopted with 3G and 4G and wait as long as a year after 5G launches, with many markets expected to introduce networks in 2019.
The news will provide a boost to smartphone rivals including Samsung, which has revealed plans to launch a 5G-compatible smartphone in 2019.
Apple reportedly believes new networks and initial versions of rival smartphones often face spotty coverage, which could deter consumers from making the leap from 4G to 5G.
Apple’s decision to wait could also be related to a long-running feud with Qualcomm, which is leading the way with 5G-enabled chips.
Due to its issues with Qualcomm, Apple is now working with Intel on mobile-chips, but Intel is not expected to have chips available to support the launch of 5G-compatible phones in 2019 despite accelerating its development in a move Moor Insights and Strategy principal analyst Patrick Moorhead previously told Mobile World Live could have been influenced by Apple’s deployment plans.
While Apple has typically waited around a year after rivals launch devices compatible with the latest mobile technologies in the past with little negative effect, 5G connectivity is expected to be a major selling point for smartphone vendors in 2019 and the vendor is already under pressure to grow a stagnating iPhone user base.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Gartner analyst Mark Hung said: “Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology. They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. If they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter