Expect multiple 5G iPhones in 2020

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Qualcomm may have just hinted that 5G iPhones are coming in 2020
Qualcomm may have just hinted that 5G iPhones are coming in 2020
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple may be waiting a bit longer than some of its rivals to go 5G, but it will reportedly jump into this cutting-edge networking standard in a big way next year. There will be two 5G iPhone models introduced in 2020, according to a respected analyst.

Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities says both of Apple’s high-end handsets coming in about 15 months will likely have the much faster replacement for 4G.

The analyst is bullish on this technology. “We estimate that 5G iPhone will account for around 60% of total new 2H20 iPhone shipments (vs. consensus’s 20%),” wrote the analyst in a research note to clients.

No 2019 iPhone will have 5G, but carriers are still early in the process of deploying these networks, and only a couple of mobile devices can connect to what’s available now.

Apple baking its own 5G modems

The first 5G iPhone models will use Qualcomm modems but Apple is developing its own, according to Kuo. This should appear in the 2022 or 2023 iOS handsets.

Still, Apple’s chip will be created with Qualcomm’s help. “We believe that the content of Apple and Qualcomm’s previous settlement includes Qualcomm’s release of partly 5G baseband chip source code to Apple for Apple’s development of its own 5G PA/FEM,” wrote Kuo.

This modem is expected to support the low- and high-frequency versions of 5G used around the globe, including mmWave being adopted in the US.

More iPhone growth in 2020

5G isn’t the only big change Kuo is predicting for 2020. His note also said that Apple’s largest handset will get even bigger than the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max.

In addition, this fall’s replacement for the iPhone XR will be last in this series with a traditional LCD.