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Apple may release a 5G iPhone in 2020 after all

Intel has unveiled its new 5G chip, which will be available in late 2019.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen

Apple may be ready to include 5G support in new iPhones soon.

James Martin/CNET
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Never say never. Although it previously seemed like Apple wouldn't release an iPhone with 5G support next year, new evidence makes the possibility of a 5G iPhone in 2020 seem more likely.

That's because on Monday Intel announced its new Intel XMM 8160 chip with 5G support. Intel says the 5G chip will be able to support peak speeds that are "three to six times faster than the latest LTE modems available today."

Enlarge Image

Intel shares details about its new chip.


The Intel chip is intended to become available in the second half of 2019, and Intel expects it to be in commercially available products such as phones  in early 2020. Intel says it pushed its launch date forward by more than six months to make this possible.

A big reason that Apple wasn't expected to release a 5G iPhone next year was due to the belief that only Qualcomm would have a 5G chip ready in time. And since Apple and Qualcomm are currently involved in an ongoing legal battle, it seemed unlikely that Apple would use Qualcomm's 5G chip.

Since Apple uses Intel's chips in its iPhones, and because Intel will have a 5G chip ready next year, it's possible that the 2020 iPhone could support 5G.

5G is expected to become widespread next year, with wireless carriers and other tech companies pushing for its adoption. This could lead to a wave of 5G phones starting next year.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Watch this: 5G smartphones are coming