Apple iPhones To Get 5G Connectivity In 2020
With 5G technology at the brink of reaching consumers soon, it is not surprising that tech giant Apple is gearing up to launch its own 5G handsets. Companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi and Oppo have already partnered with Qualcomm. They have even started testing some of their 5G compatible devices. However, Apple is partnering with Intel to make 5G enabled iPhones available by 2020. Apple will use Intel’s 8161 5G modem, according to reports.
Intel plans to use the 10nm process for its 8161 chip, which will increase transistor density and hence provide more speed and efficiency. Intel is also working on a separate chip, the 8060. This will be used for prototyping and testing on the 5G iPhone. However, things have not been all smooth sailing between Apple and Intel.
The 8060 has some heat dissipation issues which has not yet been solved by Intel. This could be due to the fact that 5G carriers will initially rely on the millimetre-wave spectrum to connect the first few 5G phones. However, this process is extremely demanding on the modems. It causes them to release levels of heat which are higher than the normal. These levels can reach a stage where they can be felt on the exterior of the device as well and also affects battery life. Obviously, Apple is not happy with these results.
Intel is said to be working on solving this issue. But it seems like this hurdle isn’t big enough for Apple to reopen talks with Qualcomm regarding the supply of chips. Qualcomm’s 5G modem also has its own share of heat dissipation issues. However, the chip maker has said that it has found a way around this and solved the issue. Apple has reportedly held conversations with MediaTek as well, regarding the supply of 5G modems. However, MediaTek usually makes chips for budget and mid-range devices. Therefore, it might not be the perfect fit for Apple’s flagship iPhones. The talks however have taken place and MediaTek is just a distant ‘Plan B’, according to reports.
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The Race To 5G
A number of Android devices with 5G capability will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress, early next year. This might make it seem like Apple is joining the party a bit too late, however, the move makes perfect sense. Although chip manufacturers are making 5G modems this year itself and basic infrastructure for 5G will be set up soon. It does not guarantee great 5G connectivity. Infrastructure will be present, but it will be limited. This would give users great download speeds at very limited places and not any dependable connectivity. Therefore, waiting till 2020 to ensure that the required infrastructure is present, instead of rushing into making sure ‘we did it first’ could be a logical move by Apple.