Apple will reportedly release a 5G iPhone in 2020. According to an unspecified report, the third largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world will be using Intel’s 8161 5G modem chips on its new line of iPhones to be released in 2020.
Starting with this year’s models, Intel has become the sole provider of modem chips for the iPhone. Apple started working with Intel in 2015, eventually breaking off contract with their old providers of modems, Qualcomm. But the tech giants could possibly reopen talks with Qualcomm to provide 5G modems for their 2020 line of iPhone. It has been rumored that the tech giants have had talks with another manufacturer of modem chips, MediaTek. MediaTek are currently working on a 5G modem of their own. But they normally develop modems for low-priced smartphones, not flagship devices like the iPhone.
Apple has so far refrained from commenting on this story.
Why is Apple unhappy with Intel?
Apple is said to be unhappy with Intel because of the company’s inability to resolve heat dissipation and battery life issues with the 8060 modem chip that it is currently using to prototype the 5G iPhone.
But Intel still has some time to work on these issues between now and 2020. It is said to be planning on using the 10-nanometer process to develop the 8161 modem chips. This will give it a higher transistor density which will result in greater speed and efficiency.
The First Wave of 5G Smartphones
The first wave of 5G Smartphones are set to make their debut at the next Mobile World Congress in February. Manufacturers such as Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi are said to be planning on releasing Android phones with 5G modem chips from Qualcomm.
Most of these early devices are however bound to have a big heat related issue. Wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon will make use of something known as millimeter-wave-spectrum (28 – 39 gigahertz) to connect these first wave of 5G phones. Millimeter-wave-spectrum will demand a much heavier work of these early 5G modem chips, which will result in a high level of thermal dissipation. The heat will in fact be so great that it can be felt on the outside of the phone. And where does all this heat come from? Well, it is always converted from the electricity in the battery. This means, battery life is also equally affected.
Qualcomm has said that it has managed the technical issues causing the heat dissipation in its 5G modems. But that is yet to be seen.
Apple on the other hand has always been known for its patience in adding new technology to its devices. It will wait till 2020 when all issues have been checked before releasing the first line of 5G iPhones.
What is 5G?
5G is the latest wireless standard that was finalized earlier this year. There will however only be a limited number of 5G base stations in the major cities of the world next year. This assures giants like Apple and Samsung who will wait until the following year to add 5G modems to their flagship devices.
But what will 5G feel like? Well, where you will work, it will be really fast. Users may expect download speeds of multiple gigabits-per-second. But like we’ve said, there will be little the user can do with this upgrade, at least in 2019. Next year will be all about promoting this new technology so you may expect to see a lot of marketing done for the 5G standard. But it won’t be until 2020 when the real use case of this new standard may begin to present itself.