5G Apple iPhone will be released in 2020, analyst claims

18 Jun 2019

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Despite a change in direction in terms of which chip the company would use, renowned Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo speculates that the new iPhone model will be delivered right on schedule.

Ming-Chi Kuo is widely regarded as one of the most trusted sources for on-the-money predictions about Apple. Kuo, a KGI Securities analyst based in Taiwan, previously predicted that Apple would produce three different models of iPhone, a forecast that proved extremely accurate. Now, Kuo has released a report claiming that Apple’s 5G-enabled iPhone should be on the market later next year.

Kuo also said that all three new models will feature OLED screens and will come in 5.4in, 6.1in and 6.7in sizes. These specifications align with predictions released by DigiTimes in April 2019.

Kuo said that the 5.4in and 6.7in models will support 5G, while the 6.1in model will go up to LTE. Kuo further predicts that all iPhones will have 5G support in 2021 and that Apple’s own in-house 5G chip will not be ready until 2022, meaning that it will remain heavily reliant on Qualcomm-based chips, though Kuo also believes that Apple will use its own power amplifier and RF antenna designs.

Reports have been circulating for a while about an impending 5G iPhone; however, it was initially said to be using an Intel radio chip. Apple, in a surprise move to many commentators, veered off at a sharp angle when it struck a deal with Qualcomm instead.

The move proved costly for Apple, as it was forced to settle all its outstanding patent lawsuits with Qualcomm, to the tune of $4.5bn. Shortly after the deal was struck, Intel announced its intention to exit the 5G smartphone modem business, pivoting instead to 4G and 5G modems for PCs and internet of things (IoT) devices.

The shuffle inspired questions about when exactly Apple would produce its 5G iPhone and whether the smartphone giant could possibly remain on course for its 2020 launch. Yet if Kuo proves right yet again, the trajectory has not been affected.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic