iPhone 12 Pro with faster 5G may not arrive until 2021, analysts warn

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An iPhone with mmWave 5G could be more than a year away.
Photo: Apple

Apple is expected to introduce its first iPhones with 5G later this year. But if you want an iPhone 12 Pro with the fastest possible 5G speeds, you could be waiting until 2021.

A new report claims that mmWave 5G, which is up to ten times faster than LTE, probably won’t make its way to iPhone this year. That means a successor to iPhone 11 with an LCD screen could be the only model available this fall.

Apple is already late to the 5G party, with rivals like Samsung, Huawei, and even OnePlus offering 5G devices. It is widely believed that Cupertino will catch up this year, but that catch-up could be staggered … and confusing.

To enjoy the fastest 5G speeds, or even just a better iPhone with an OLED screen, you may have to wait until December at the earliest.

mmWave iPhones won’t be ready for September

Analysts at Susquehanna believe Apple’s first 5G iPhone will be a successor to iPhone 11. It is expected to be compatible with a wider spread of 5G networks, but it will carry an LCD display just like its predecessor.

The flagship iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max successors, which will support faster but less widespread mmWave 5G networks and OLED screens, may not come until 2021.

“The delay in the launch, according to our checks, stems from Apple’s decision to in-source Antenna-in-Package (AiP) modules instead of purchasing from a 3rd party,” reports Susquehanna, via CNBC.

But don’t be too disappointed just yet.

Apple could deliver on time

Reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed in November that Apple’s upcoming handsets will support both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G bands, allowing them to connect to any 5G network.

Kuo believes all three successors to iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max will have this capability. He also expects all three to adopt OLED screens, leaving LCD technology behind. Kuo’s claims have been corroborated by other analysts, too.

It’s certainly possible this situation has changed since November. But it’s best to take the latest claims with a pinch of salt for now. It seems highly unlikely Apple will have only one iPhone ready for September. And even if that is the case, it could have little impact on Apple’s iPhone business in the long-term.

“The first year of iPhone 5G will have modest demand given carrier coverage will be limited,” Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster told Cult of Mac. “By late 2021 demand of iPhone 5G will quicken and should power a 2-3 year acceleration in iPhone growth.”

The bottom line, Muster says, is that “5G will take longer than expected to impact Apple’s business but in the end [will be] a bigger than expected lift to revenue and earnings over a 4 year period.”