It’s no secret that Apple haven’t yet made the leap from 4G data to 5G data. It was temporarily the talk of the town when it was discovered that the newest and shiniest addition to the iPhone family wouldn’t come with the bragging rights of the breakneck download speeds that 5G is known to bring. Speculation and rumor abound. Once the official statement was made at Apple’s annual September announcement, the stories really started. “Aren’t Apple always at the forefront of phone tech innovation?” was a question that echoed far and wide. “It’s probably down to Apple’s spat with Qualcomm,” is the conclusion that many came to. Some fans and naysayers forgot one crucial thing though, they forgot that though apple is a multibillion-dollar company renowned for its state-of-the-art-phones, it didn’t get this way overnight or from lack of a stellar business strategy.
The disadvantages simply outweighed the advantages and apple knew it. A company that puts customer satisfaction and quality above all, they couldn’t risk implementing this not-yet fully-fledged data system into their phones. The press and sales disaster would be a nightmare beyond belief. There was simply too much to lose for a company that has so much.
But as time inevitably trundles on, so too does the development and gradual improvement of technology. 5G data systems have improved since Apple’s decision and they will naturally continue to develop until Apple’s next announcement. The question is whether we can be sure Apple will avail of it for all three of their 2020 flagship phones. According to reports and sources, even from reports from Bloomberg, we can be sure of it. So, how do they plan on executing this feat with none of the known downsides? Here are just some of the ways Apple could introduce this revolutionary innovation to their loyal market.
Despite AT&T, Verizon, and T-mobile already having implemented 5G data usage into their phones, Apple will likely not copy their methods due to their notoriously spotty coverage. Usage of 5G is still limited from region to region, country to country, and connection can even completely drop once indoors. 5G coverage is only entirely guaranteed in highly populated urban areas where more 5G ‘nodes’ are placed. Apple will not distribute a phone that cannot be used expansively and effectively, with Apple expert James Cordwell opining "Apple will also be waiting until 5G is sufficiently rolled out in terms of the connectivity. They're going to be selling a 5G phone to a bunch of consumers who wouldn't necessarily be able to use it.” It is thus speculated that Apple are working to overcome these drawbacks before releasing a 5G phone.
With 5G's speed, reliability, and near-zero latency promising to transform areas as varied as online gaming and autonomous vehicles, it must be produced and implemented using the proper systems. The millimeter waves used in 5G simply are no match for the wide range of the LTE towers. Upon losing 5G signal (which seems to happen often as of now), a phone will immediately revert back to 4G and reconnect to an LTE tower. This is a gaping fault that Apple will likely try to abridge.
Settling their legal qualms with Qualcomm
Following two years of legal battles between these tech giants, a settlement was reached with Apple making a payment to Qualcomm. Throughout the proceedings, the companies agreed to sign a six-year license agreement, effective from April 2019. This deal ensures Apple’s access to 5G data chips and modems that Qualcomm have previously produced. Does this mean that we might see 5G phones from Apple sooner than expected? The deal certainly suggests so!
Acquiring their own modems.
Apple officially signed the deal to buy "the majority" of Intel's smartphone modem business for $1 billion. The deal includes 2,200 Intel employees, as well as IP and equipment. With this allowing Apple to build and host their own 5G modems for smartphones, meaning that the future of 5G data usage could be a more prolific one than previously thought. Not only does this purchase mean that Apple will be adopting 5G soon, it shows that they wish to dedicate themselves to it. Apple have even moved their modem chip engineering “in-house”, suggesting that not only do they wish to make their own modems, they want to make them unique. This entire deal has taken place despite their prior deal with Qualcomm. Whether this means that Apple are keeping their options open or have simply changed tactics is up for speculation.
With the aforementioned events and reports happening throughout 2019, the newest report has been issued as recently as November with a report from Bloomberg stating that the 2019 phones would not be the phones to host 5G. Instead, Mark Gurman explained in the report that 5G would only be used in the 2020 phones, which supports all the speculation surrounding the 2020 Apple announcement.
It is surmised that widespread usage of 5G data will inspire innovation that is now unimaginable to us in our current technological times. Due to Apple’s ability to distribute its products and technology far and wide, the opportunities for entrepreneurs taking part in this innovation will be immense. We simply can't underestimate the power that Apple may have in releasing a 5G data phone. Not only will it satisfy their market, it could also herald in a new age of data use. No matter what is said on the matter, fans and tech-lovers are still going to be stuck with the immense anticipation and excitement that is waiting for the next Apple announcement.