Apple fans may have to wait longer for first 5G iPhones. Despite Apple and Qualcomm settling a two-year-old legal dispute, the Cupertino-based company may take one more year to roll out first 5G-powered iPhones.
According to a Nikkei report, Apple will use Qualcomm’s 5G chips in its future iPhones but the feature won’t come to the iPhones scheduled to launch later this year. “It is too late for Apple to use Qualcomm’s chips this year, but for 2020 it will purchase modem chips, including 5G modem chips, from the chipmaker for iPhones after finalizing the deal,” the report quotes a source as saying.
The delay will put Apple behind the likes of Samsung and Huawei which have already launched 5G-based smartphones. Smaller players like Xiaomi and OnePlus have also confirmed plans to launch 5G smartphones in coming weeks.
The 5G race is said to be one of the key reasons behind Apple’s decision to resolve the dispute with Qualcomm. Interestingly enough, Apple’s partner Intel announced exiting the 5G mobile chip business shortly after Apple and Qualcomm struck multi-year deal.
Intel said it did not foresee “profitability and positive returns” in the smartphone modem business. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan.
According to earlier reports, Apple was concerned about Intel’s slow progress with 5G modems for 2020 iPhone models. It is worth noting that Apple is also said to be working on in-house 5G chips but these won’t be ready before 2021. At one point, Apple also considered Samsung and MediaTek for supplying 5G chips.