Apple plans to hold off until at least 2020 before offering an iPhone that can connect to the next generation of high-speed phone services following the trend of the coming year, according to people familiar with its plans.
The company will hold off for up to a year after the next generation of wireless technology is deployed, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.
Rivals Huawei and Samsung are readying to launch their own 5G phones next year, offering customers data speeds up to 100 times faster than those available through current 4G networks. This delay therefore, can give the rivals privilege to win over consumers to phones that connect to 5G networks, which will provide a leap forward in mobile data speeds when they are introduced in 2019.
This is not the first time Apple is implementing such delay. As with 3G and 4G, the two previous generations of mobile technology, Apple waited as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before its main product gets the capability to access them. However, this time, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade, making Apple’s decision to wait riskier. The networks will open the floodgates to new types of mobile computing, 5G advocates say.
The decision to sit on the sidelines may be related to the company’s feud with Qualcomm Inc, the leader in 5G-enabled chips, and its alliance instead with IntelCorp, which won’t have chips available in time to support 2019 phones.
Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Though, the waits in the past might not have implicate any sales in the company, however, things have change, the leap from 4G to 5G is significant enough that it may become a major selling point for new devices.
Gartner analyst Mark Hung said while Apple “weren’t impacted in the past, 5G is going to be much easier to market”. “If they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted,” he said.
Apple also is under more pressure to keep its iPhone customer base. The company has lost a fifth of its value the past two months amid a tech stock rout and reports of suppliers cutting forecasts, signaling the new models introduced in September aren’t selling as well as anticipated.
While the global smartphone market has declined for four consecutive quarters, according to industry analyst IDC, the iPhone accounts for almost 60 percent of Apple’s revenue and is the foundation of the company’s push for sales in consumer services such as music, video and cloud storage.
Apple is unlikely to use chips from competitors, which may cause more struggle to the companies as they may have to produce enough supply for the iPhone’s huge volumes – more than 200 million a year.