Something to look forward to: The iPhone is the benchmark of the mobile industry. Once Apple integrates a new feature, most others follow, app developers begin using that feature and mobile carriers start to support it. The era of 5G will likely begin for most in 2020.
According to an anonymous source within Apple, the 2020 iPhone range will be using the Intel 8161 5G modem exclusively. It’ll enable speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second, possibly reaching speeds of up to 5 gigabit per second, depending on network and modem advancements in the next year.
Unfortunately for Apple, their legal battle with Qualcomm could have put their 5G support at a bit of a disadvantage: Intel is reportedly struggling with thermal and power issues. They’re experimenting with 10nm processes to improve the efficiency of the modem, and although the source says that Apple has “ample” time to perfect it before 2020, that could be a bit late in the game.
Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem is already functional, and while it also runs hot, Qualcomm managed to make the problem bearable, possibly by using their 7nm node. Xiaomi is quite likely to be using it in their already announced 5G Mi Mix 3, and there are rumors that Samsung might be using it in a variant of the Galaxy S10, too. Huawei, for their part, have promised that they will be releasing a 5G phone with an in-house modem within a year.
Because of all this, Apple isn’t very happy with Intel, who apparently hasn’t got a single 5G modem working in a prototype phone. They’re still designing their 8060 5G modems that Apple will use to test the 5G network in 2019, before they even begin on the 8161. As a “Plan B” Apple has been in talks with MediaTek, though the source says that a deal with them is very unlikely.
5G has the potential to change the way we interact with the internet – just think about all the things 4G enabled in the past few years: social media, music streaming, video streaming and more. The next few years will be exciting ones for the mobile industry.