Qualcomm may have just hinted that 5G iPhones are coming in 2020

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Ming-Chi Kuo spills details on 5G iPhone, antenna challenges
Coming soon to a pocket near you. Hopefully.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf predicts 175 million to 225 million 5G handsets will be sold in 2020. The company is also expecting new flagship devices with its 5G chips to be made available for sale next fall.

While that’s far from a guarantee, the comments provide more (possible) clues that 2020 could be when we get the first 5G iPhones.

Qualcomm Chief Financial Officer Akash Palkhiwala said on Qualcomm’s investor call that there will be “two inflection points” for 5G chips next year. One is in the spring, when companies like Samsung release their new devices. “The second inflection point will be in the fall time frame, when another set of flagship devices will adopt 5G,” Palkhiwala continued.

That seems like it could well be a reference to the iPhone. Qualcomm patched up its battle with Apple earlier this year. Soon after their deal was announced, rival 5G chipmaker Intel dropped out of the 5G mobile modem business. While Apple eventually wants to build its own 5G chips, it will likely rely on Qualcomm to begin with.

“We’re continuing to see strength in the licensing business, particularly after we’ve added in the deal we signed this year with Apple, and we’re on the front end of the 5G transition, which will impact our product business,” Mollenkopf told Reuters Wednesday. “We’re closer to that and we’re really seeing the signs that we should be confident.”

Qualcomm 5G chips will be big for Apple

5G technology will give iPhones significantly faster connectivity. The adoption of 5G in one of the world’s most popular smartphones is also likely to drive 5G infrastructure in places like the U.S.

There are some possible downsides, though. A recent report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that 5G could make the next-gen iPhone thicker, heavier, and (most importantly) pricier than its predecessors.

Despite this, next year’s iPhone is likely to be a big upgrade for all sorts of reasons. As well as 5G, users can expect a new design, OLED screens in every model, and more.

How much of a selling point would 5G be for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.