Virtually all of the major players in the wireless industry are scrambling to tie their fortunes to 5G. Verizon will launch its 5G Home wireless broadband service next month. Sprint and LG want to bring out the first smartphone using the next-generation technology.
One company is unmoved by the hype: Apple.
It’s a good bet that the consumer electronics titan, which on Wednesday unveiled three new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, will opt out of putting 5G into its next iPhone. And it’s still a question as to whether the cellular tech may show up in an iPhone by 2020.
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Apple likes to wait to get the kinks out of emerging technologies before committing them to its products. It lagged well behind its Android counterparts in adopting mobile payments and wireless charging, and it was at least a generation behind in adopting 3G and 4G LTE cellular capabilities. Most industry analysts expect the same lag with 5G, even as the technology races toward reality.
“5G is arriving a little quicker than everyone expected,” said Ian Fogg, an analyst for OpenSignal, which collects and analyzes data from mobile networks.
If Apple does take the slow road, it would stand as one of the few companies that isn’t immediately embracing 5G, the next generation of wireless technology poised to change the world. There’s been a lot of hype and bluster around 5G, but its enhanced speed, responsiveness and ability to handle multiple devices beyond your phone could change the way we live.
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Given the excitement over 5G, it’s easy to see why other companies, from wireless carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile to telecom equipment makers like Nokia and phone makers like Samsung are jumping in — this is another potential feature to crow about.
That Apple has shied away from 5G is further evidence that the company doesn’t need any help generating its own hype, as if this week’s launch of new, pricier iPhones wasn’t reminder enough.
The company wasn’t available to provide a comment.
A decade ago, the original iPhone marked a huge leap for smartphones. Its touchscreen interface and full browser capability, among other features, revolutionized what a smartphone could be.
Except for that slow, slow cellular connection. As we sit upon the cusp of a 5G world, it’s easy to forget that the original iPhone had a 2G radio. You felt the network schlepping along as a website loaded bit by bit.