As 5G coverage has begun to rollout in 2019, phone makers like Samsung have been quick to release 5G capable phones- even though 5G coverage isn’t widespread across the U.S. just yet. Apple, has been notably absent in the 5G market, until now.
According to some reports, Apple will release three phones with 5G connectivity with Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem. The Verge reports that “This modem will reportedly be paired with a new Apple chipset — likely to be called the A14 Bionic — that’ll be the first from the company to be built using a 5-nanometer process. In general, moving to smaller manufacturing processes makes chips more efficient while allowing more processing power to be packed into a smaller space.”
Unlike some of its competitors, Apple has been slow to adopt 5G technology, even with their latest release of iPhones, all containing 4G wireless technology. Apple however has set an aggressive sales target for 2020 and plans to ship 80 million of their new 5G phones and reclaim their title as the maker of the world’s must-have smartphone.
Apple is set to report its fourth quarter earnings at the end of October 2019, which will give a glimpse into how the sales of the iPhone 11 did. The iPhone 11 launch in September 2019 helped Apple’s smartphone shipments to China in Q3, its largest market outside the U.S., and held its number five position against other competitors. Apple’s smartphone shipments to China in Q3 accounted for nearly 40% of its 5.1 million shipments to the country in that quarter, reported by Canalys. However, Apple’s growth declined 28% in China due to economic pressure and domestic vendor, Huawei, continuing to be a customer favorite.
The global smartphone market has been fluctuating as consumers have started to hold on to their current devices a lot longer, rather than upgrade as each new generation of phone comes out.
According to a recent report by IDC, there have been challenges in the smartphone market in 2019 but with the emergence of 5G, growth is expected to come back in 2020. Sangeetika Srivastava, a senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers has this to say, “Consumers continue to hold their devices for lengthier times making sales difficult for the vendors and channels alike. However, expectations of aggressive promotions and offers in the second half of 2019 aimed at helping to clear out any channel inventory and get consumers excited about the next wave of smartphone technology should steer the market back toward renewed growth.”
2019 has been a challenging year for iPhone shipments with volumes expected to drop 14.8% year over year, due to market maturity and lack of 5G devices. But with the new deployments by wireless carriers to bring 5G coverage to the U.S., Apple is expected to bring 5G devices to stay competitive as their rivals have already been releasing 5G capable devices. It’s likely though Apple will pick up an edge to their competition because the 5G market conditions would have matured, giving Apple a better understanding of what to launch.
There’s no doubt that 2020 will be an exciting year in wireless technology for the U.S. markets. Between widespread rollouts from T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and newcomer, Dish Network, and the release of new and more advanced devices from multiple manufacturers.