Apple won't release a 5G smartphone til 2020, giving Samsung the edge

While smartphone providers like Samsung and Motorola have already announced plans for 5G phones, Apple lags behind.

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The race is on for 5G-enabled devices, and many large smartphone companies are taking action. One tech giant, however, is falling short: Apple. As reported by Bloomberg, Apple plans to wait until at least 2020 before releasing an iPhone capable of 5G connectivity.

5G refers to the fifth generation of cellular network connectivity. The main benefits of 5G are its low latency and ability to perform well in densely packed areas. Network operators have been able to execute 5G deployments at a rapid pace, resulting in smartphone manufacturers immediately competing to produce 5G capable devices. In February 2018, 18 manufacturers announced plans to release 5G mobile phones in 2019.

SEE: 5G technology: A business leader's guide (Tech Pro Research)

With Apple waiting another year to release their 5G iPhone, this opens the door for other tech giants to jump ahead. And Samsung wasted no time in taking advantage of this opportunity, already announcing that its partnership with Verizon to produce new Galaxy S10 which will be 5G compatible.

Samsung's 5G phone will operate on the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platform, with the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules, with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements, according to a Monday press release. And in August, Motorola beat everyone to the punch, introducing its 5G-enabled Moto Z3 phone.

Apple remains at the back of the pack. This delay, however, isn't unusual for Apple. The original 2007 iPhone came without 3G capabilities, even though 3G was widely used at the time. Apple ended up waiting a year to release 3G connectivity, repeating the same behavior when 4G was released.

SEE: How 5G will transform business (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

The main reason Apple tends to delay on adopting new networking and other capabilities is due to its desire for device effectiveness. Apple has found that if it waits for the trial versions of rival smartphones to be introduced, then it can release a better product with less glitches, reported Bloomberg.

While Apple has taken this approach with previous phones, they may not be as successful when it comes to 5G. The move from 4G and 5G is a major selling point for many new phones, placing Apple at risk of losing more money than the have in the past couple months.

To learn more about 5G connectivity, check out this TechRepublic article.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Samsung, Motorola, and 16 other smartphone manufacturers have already announced plans for their new 5G phones for late 2018 and early 2019.
  • Apple, however, lags behind, announcing they will release their 5G smartphone in 2020.

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Image: iStockphoto/sarayut

Image: iStockphoto/sarayut