Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is the most trusted source of Apple rumors — once predicting that the company would sell three different iPhones well over a year before that came true. Now, he’s betting that we’ll see the first 5G iPhones in 2020, despite the fact that Apple’s original 5G modem supplier is no longer making them anymore (via MacRumors and 9to5Mac).
You see, we’d already heard that Apple might have a 5G iPhone by 2020, but it was slated to use an Intel radio chip — something which we’ve since learned won’t be happening, because Apple chose to go with Qualcomm instead, forcing Intel to close up its 5G modem shop. That came at a great cost: Apple agreed to settle all its pending lawsuits with Qualcomm and spent at least $4.5 billion to secure the chipmaker’s cooperation, for the sake of the iPhone’s future. The shuffle left us with some big questions, including when we might see the first 5G iPhone now that Apple has to scramble to swap out its Intel radios.
If Kuo’s right, the answer is: “Right on schedule.” Both a new, smaller 5.4-inch iPhone and a even larger 6.7-inch one will have 5G support in 2020, according to Kuo’s prediction. (Sounds like the XS is getting smaller and the Max is getting bigger, based on those screen sizes.) And he says all three of Apple’s 2020 iPhones — including a low-cost 6.1-inch iPhone XR successor that’ll stay on LTE for now — will feature the vibrant colors and inky blacks of OLED screens, as opposed to the cheaper LCD panel you see in today’s XR and that will reportedly stick around for the 2019 model.
That means every iPhone will theoretically have an OLED panel in 2020. Kuo expects all of them will have 5G support in 2021, with Apple having the opportunity to switch from Qualcomm radios to its own in-house modems in 2022 or 2023.
From what we’ve seen of 5G so far, 2020 doesn’t seem too late to introduce a 5G phone.