Rumor: first 5G iPhone will arrive next year

In a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple release three iPhones next year (as it will this year) with 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models having 5G, and the 6.1-inch model sticking with LTE.

He predicts that Qualcomm will be the 5G supplier in 2020 for Apple. The 5G connectivity is expected to not just include the sub-6GHz network, but also mmWave. mmWave is a sensing technology for detecting objects and providing the range, velocity and angle of these objects.

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Today, mm wave frequencies are being used for applications such as streaming high-resolution video indoors. However, the tech is purportedly almost ready to make its public debut. The objective with mmWave is to increase the data bandwidth available over smaller, densely populated areas.

Chu also expects Apple’s in-house developed 5G modem will arrive as soon as 2022. On April 17, Intel announced plans to exit the 5G smartphone modem business following the settlement of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. The latter will supply modems for upcoming iPhones (starting in 2020) — well, at least until Apple develops its own modems.

I do believe that the tech giant plans to make its own iPhone modems in coming years. The tech giant moved its modem chip engineering effort into its in-house hardware technology group from its supply chain unit, two unnamed “people familiar with the move” told Reuters in February. This could be a sign that Apple wants to develop a key component of its smartphones after years of buying it from outside suppliers.