Apple Rumored to Be Developing 5G iPad Pro With mmWave Support

Apple is developing a 5G-enabled iPad with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes.


A paywalled preview of the report claims Taiwan's Advanced Semiconductor Engineering will supply antenna-in-package technology for the 5G iPad, in addition to 5G iPhones. While not specified, it is almost certain that this model would be an iPad Pro given 5G is a high-end feature with higher production costs.

While the first 5G iPhones are expected in fall 2020, the report does not indicate when the 5G iPad would be released. Major new features often come to the iPhone before the iPad, but a notable exception was the third-generation iPad receiving LTE support in March 2012, prior to the iPhone 5 in September 2012.

mmWave or millimeter wave is a set of 5G frequencies that promise ultra-fast speeds at short distances, making it best suited for dense urban areas. By comparison, sub-6GHz 5G is generally slower than mmWave, but the signals travel further, better serving suburban and rural areas.

The complete report should be published by tomorrow, and we will update this post if there are any additional details to share.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Kuo: All 5G iPhones on Track to Launch in Fall 2020, Including Both Sub-6GHz and mmWave Models

Last month, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expected four 5G-enabled iPhones to launch in the second half of 2020, including models with both sub-6GHz and mmWave support depending on the region.


Kuo said iPhone models with mmWave would be available in five markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom, adding that Apple may disable sub-6GHz functionality in countries that do not offer 5G service or have a shallow 5G penetration rate to reduce production costs.

Kuo has now doubled down on his prediction. In a follow-up research note today, viewed by MacRumors, he said Apple is still on track to release both sub-6GHz and sub-6GHz-plus-mmWave iPhone models simultaneously in the second half of 2020, with shipments beginning in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter.

Last week, analyst Mehdi Hosseini had disagreed with Kuo's timeframe, claiming that sub-6GHz models would launch in September 2020 and mmWave models would follow in December 2020 or January 2021.

Kuo says development of 5G iPhones with both sub-6GHz and mmWave support is progressing as scheduled, however, and he has the more reputable track record as it relates to forecasting Apple's roadmap. So, as of now, it looks like the entire 5G iPhone lineup will be announced in September as usual.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Analyst Claims 5G iPhones Will Have Staggered Rollout Between September 2020 and January 2021

Last month, in a research note with TF International Securities, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects four high-end iPhones with 5G support to launch in the second half of 2020, including both sub-6GHz and sub-6GHz-and-mmWave models.


Kuo said iPhone models with mmWave would be available in five markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom, adding that Apple may disable sub-6GHz functionality in countries that do not offer 5G service or have a shallow 5G penetration rate to reduce production costs.

Based on checks within Apple's supply chain, however, Susquehanna analyst Mehdi Hosseini disagrees with Kuo's timeframe. Instead, he expects 5G-enabled iPhones to launch in two phases, including sub-6GHz models in September 2020 and mmWave models in December 2020 or January 2021.

The allegedly delayed launch of mmWave models stems from Apple's decision to use its own antenna-in-package modules instead of relying on a third-party supplier, said Hosseini, according to StreetInsider.

mmWave is the fastest 5G, utilizing new spectrum to provide theoretical download speeds of over 1 Gbps. Sub-6GHz is slower than mmWave, but it is still faster than 4G LTE and has broader coverage that makes it more suitable for rural areas.

Hosseini also expects one of the 5G-enabled iPhones to have an LCD, whereas Kuo said all four models would ship with OLED displays. One 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model are expected.

Kuo has a more established track record than Hosseini, so Apple's exact roadmap remains to be seen.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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AT&T Launches 5G Network in 10 Cities

AT&T today announced that it has launched its 5G network in its first ten markets: Birmingham, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. AT&T has PDF maps of coverage areas within these cities in its press release, and the carrier is aiming for nationwide 5G coverage in the first half of next year.


For the time being, customers with the new Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G will be able to access AT&T's 5G network, with more devices coming in the future. Apple is expected to launch its first 5G iPhones next year, likely in its usual September timeframe.

The 5G network AT&T is launching today is for the sub-6GHz spectrum, which offers broad coverage at speeds that are a step up from LTE. A separate flavor of 5G operates on the mmWave spectrum and offers even faster speeds but with shorter range, and is thus best suited for very dense, highly trafficked areas. AT&T refers to its mmWave 5G service as 5G+, and it launched in pockets of 12 markets almost exactly a year ago.

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes there will be four flagship 2020 iPhones next September, with all of them capable of supporting both sub-6Hz and mmWave 5G technology in select markets such the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Other countries will see only sub-6Hz support, while 5G may be disabled entirely in other countries where 5G isn't widely available, in order to reduce Apple's costs.

AT&T was of course notorious for branding some of its enhanced 4G LTE network as "5G Evolution" or "5GE," which began appearing in the iPhone status bar with iOS 12.2, confusing some users who thought they were able to access true 5G networks.

Tags: AT&T, 5G

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Apple Supplier Shrinks Down Capacitors Needed for 5G iPhone, Freeing Up Valuable Internal Space

Apple is planning to implement 5G technology in all of the iPhones coming in 2020, and Apple's suppliers are gearing up for the transition. One supplier, Murata Manufacturing, recently developed an "ultrasmall" version of a key electronic component, which will allow Apple to free up a bit of valuable space in its 5G iPhones.

According to Japanese news site Nikkei, Murata Manufacturing is set to start mass producing tiny multilayer ceramic capacitors that take up one-fifth of the space of the existing capacitors, but also offer 10 times the electrical storage capacity.


Each individual capacitor measures in at 0.25mm by 0.125mm, which is miniscule. The capacitors are designed to regulate power usage within circuits used in the iPhone, and to create its ultrasmall capacitors, Murata was able to refine the ceramic powder that provides the base material for the sheets used in the capacitor, which allows more sheets to be stacked up for higher capacity without more space consumed on a circuit board.

5G technology is a bigger power drain than 4G technology, necessitating larger batteries and more efficient components. Murata's new capacitors will give smartphone designers like Apple freedom to use that space for other important components within the ‌iPhone‌, such as higher-capacity batteries.

There's no confirmation that Apple is going to use Murata's technology, but it seems likely as Murata is a supplier for Apple. Murata also works with other smartphone companies such as Huawei.

Apple is planning to introduce at least three new iPhones in the fall of 2020, all of which are expected to include 5G technology to allow the ‌iPhone‌ to take advantage of 5G networks and better compete with Android smartphones.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Tags: 5G, 5G iPhone

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T-Mobile Launches 600MHz 5G Network Across United States

T-Mobile today announced that its 600MHz 5G network has gone live across the United States, bringing 5G connectivity to those who have a compatible smartphone.

According to T-Mobile, its 5G network covers more than 200 million people and more than 1 million square miles, though connectivity is limited to the OnePlus 7T 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, both of which are launching on the T-Mobile network this Friday.


There are currently no iPhones that are compatible with T-Mobile's 5G network, with Apple planning to release its first iPhones that support 5G connectivity in 2020.

T-Mobile's 5G network is a 600MHz network, which gives it greater range than the mmWave 5G networks other carriers like AT&T and Verizon are focusing on, but less speed. T-Mobile's 5G is faster than 4G, but it won't reach some of the blazing fast speeds that are possible with mmWave technology.

When 5G is mentioned, most people are talking about millimeter wave spectrum, which offers blazing fast data transfer speeds, but it is sensitive to interference from buildings, trees, and other obstacles and it is best suited to use in dense, urban locations.


5G in rural and suburban areas will be on mid and low-bands, which is also known as sub-6GHz 5G, simply because of the restrictions of the mmWave technology. From T-Mobile CEO John Legere:
"5G is here on a nationwide scale. This is a HUGE step towards 5G for All. While Dumb and Dumber focus on 5G for the (wealthy) Few, launching in just a handful of cities -- and forcing customers into their most expensive plans to get 5G -- we're committed to building broad, deep nationwide 5G that people and businesses can access at no extra cost with the New T-Mobile ... and today is just the start of that journey."
T-Mobile says that its 5G network goes "far beyond the limitations" of 5G networks from other carriers, bringing 5G to more people in more places, with coverage available in a map on the T-Mobile website. According to T-Mobile, after its merger with Sprint is completed, the new larger company will be able to further expand its 5G network.


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Report: Apple to Use Qualcomm’s X55 5G Modem in All Three 2020 iPhones

Apple's 2020 iPhones will all use Qualcomm's newest and fastest 5G-capable modem chip, claims a new report out of Asia today.


Apple is expected to launch three iPhones next year in 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch sizes. According to Nikkei Asian Review, all three will carry the 5G modem chip designed by Qualcomm called the X55.
All three of the new iPhones will carry the most advanced 5G modem chip, known as X55 that is designed by U.S. mobile chip developer Qualcomm, four people familiar with the plan told Nikkei. The chip, which enables much faster downloads, faces such an increase in demand that there could be supply constraints, one person added.
The X55 chip offers 7Gb/s peak download speeds and 3Gb/s upload speeds, though these numbers are theoretical maximums and actual speeds will depend on carrier network. The chip is Qualcomm's first 5G chip that supports all major frequency bands, operation modes, and network deployments.

The X55 is also more power efficient than Qualcomm's X50 chip, which means it will draw less energy and will have less of an impact on battery life when connected to a 5G network.

Apple was originally planning to use Intel chips in its 2020 5G iPhones, but Intel is out of the smartphone chip business and Apple has no choice but to use Qualcomm's modem chips.

Apple aims to ship 80 million 5G-capable iPhones next year, claims the report. Apple typically ships between 75 and 80 million new iPhones each year, and it plans to close in on similar targets in 2020 and exploit 5G as a key sales driver, according to Nikkei.
"It will be the first time Apple introduces 5G iPhones ... There will be three of them and the company has set an aggressive sales target," one of the people familiar with the company's thinking said.
In July, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will offer 5G in all three of its new flagship iPhone models to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones that will support 5G.

Apple's embrace of 5G is expected to push carriers such as AT&T and Verizon to accelerate their investment in the rollout of 5G infrastructure and catch up with China's rapidly accelerating 5G capabilities.

By 2025, London-based GSMA estimates that China will have 600 million 5G subscribers, or about 40 percent of the global total, notes Nikkei, citing a Financial Times report.

Today's report also corroborates previous rumors that Apple will switch to a 5-nanometer fabrication process for its A14 processor next year. Apple has used a 7nm process since the A12 Bionic chip debuted in 2018, and TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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DigiTimes: Apple to Launch MacBooks with Cellular 5G Connectivity in Second Half of 2020

Apple is working on a range of MacBooks with 5G cellular connectivity for launch as early as next year, claims a new report today by DigiTimes.


According to the hit-and-miss Taiwanese publication, Lenovo, HP, and Dell will kick off the 5G laptop market later this year, and Apple is set to follow with its own high-speed cellular notebook in the second half of 2020.
The world's top-3 notebook vendors Lenovo, HP and Dell are set to introduce their first 5G models in the second half of 2019, and Apple is also expected to roll out its 5G MacBook series in the second half of 2020, according to industry sources.
The English version of the DigiTimes story is currently paywalled, so the following details are based on a machine-translation of the same report on DigiTimes Taiwan.

DigiTimes' notebook supply chain connections claim that Apple has finalized its integrated 5G MacBook design and though it did so later than other vendors, its 5G transceiver offers higher efficiency and superior high-speed transmission rates than rival designs.

According to DigiTimes' sources, Apple is achieving better 5G performance in its notebook designs through the use of a ceramic antenna board, which costs six times that of a regular metal antenna board but offers twice the transmission and reception efficiency.

Another reason a 5G-enabled MacBook is expected to be high is reportedly down to the case: A metal chassis shields the 5G signal, meaning the notebook would require 13 to 15 antennas, where a 5G smartphone typically uses 11.

This is the first time we've heard anything about Apple planning to launch a MacBook with 5G, and DigiTimes has a mixed track record in relation to reporting on Apple's future plans, so it's best to treat its rumors with some skepticism until the info is corroborated by additional sources.

That said, Apple has explored the possibility of developing MacBooks with cellular connectivity in the past. Indeed, the company reportedly considered launching a MacBook Air with 3G connectivity, but former CEO Steve Jobs said in 2008 that Apple decided against it, since it would take up too much room in the case and would lock customers to a specific carrier. Plus owners who wanted to could always use a USB modem and choose their own carrier.

Apple patent describing MacBook with integrated LTE

Despite retreating from the idea, Apple received approval for two patents in 2016 that would enable it to add LTE connectivity to its MacBooks. Both describe the use of an installed "cavity" antenna that runs parallel with the notebook's hinge which could be used for long-range communications such as cellular telephone bands. The patents also describe other uses including near-field communications (NFC), light-based wireless connectivity, satellite navigation, and more.

While it appears that Apple and Qualcomm's multi-year licensing and chipset supply agreement will result in Qualcomm supplying modems for the first 5G-enabled iPhones, expected to launch in 2020, multiple reports have indicated that Apple is on the path to developing its own cellular modems.

Indeed, Apple recently announced that it plans to acquire the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business, subject to regulatory approvals. The acquisition will certainly benefit Apple's cellular technologies team, but whether it will factor in on any plans for a series of 5G MacBooks remains to be seen.


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Kuo: All Three iPhones Coming in 2020 Will Support 5G

The three iPhones expected to launch in 2020 will feature support for 5G, according to a new note to investors shared today by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo originally said that two of the three new iPhones coming in 2020 will support 5G, but now believes that Apple will offer 5G in all models to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones that will support 5G. Kuo also says that following Apple's acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, Apple has more resources for developing the 5G iPhone.

We now believe that all three new 2H20 iPhone models will support 5G for the following reasons. (1) Apple has more resource for developing the 5G iPhone after the acquisition of Intel baseband business. (2) We expect that the prices of 5G Android smartphones will decline to $249-349 USD in 2H20. We believe that 5G Android smartphones, which will be sold at $249-349 USD, will only support Sub-6GHz. But the key is that consumers will think that 5G is the necessary function in 2H20. Therefore, iPhone models which will be sold at higher prices have to support 5G for winning more subsidies from mobile operators and consumers' purchase intention. (3) Boosting 5G developments could benefit Apple's AR ecosystem.
Kuo says that he expects all three new iPhone models coming in 2020 to support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum to meet the requirements of the American market, but it is not clear if Apple will launch a 5G iPhone that only supports Sub-6GHz, which would allow for a lower price. He says Apple may not have enough development resources for such a project.
Apple may have the intention to launch the 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz, to gain market share by lowering the cost/price for markets which only support Sub-6GHz (e.g., Chinese market). However, 5G iPhone, which only supports Sub-6GHz and the version which supports mmWave & Sub-6GHz are regarded as different projects even though they share the same form factor design.
For those unfamiliar with 5G networks, there are actually two different kinds of 5G. mmWave technology is the super fast 5G that's most often talked about, but not all 5G networks are going to use mmWave technology in all areas because it's best suited to denser urban areas.

In rural and suburban areas, 5G technology will be on mid-bands and low-bands, called sub-6GHz 5G. It's still faster than 4G, but not as fast as mmWave. When 5G finishes rolling out, there will be some areas with mmWave technology where data transfer speeds will be lightning quick, coupled with other more expansive areas that are closer to 4G LTE speeds.

Over time, low-band and mid-band 5G speeds should also get much quicker, but at launch, won't be as fast as mmWave, which is most often in the spotlight.

Apple is planning to use modem chips from Qualcomm in its 2020 5G iPhone lineup, despite its recent acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business. Apple is working on its own modem chips, but that technology isn't going to be ready until 2021.

Along with 5G technology, the 2020 iPhones could be available in new sizes. In a previous note, Kuo said that Apple is going to release 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display. More information on what to expect in the 2020 iPhones can be found in the dedicated what's next section of our 2019 iPhone roundup.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Apple Reportedly Wants to Have a Custom 5G Modem Ready for Use in Some Products by 2021

Apple yesterday announced that it has agreed to acquire the majority of Intel's smartphone modem business. The $1 billion transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.


Understandably, the acquisition may enable Apple to accelerate development of its own 5G modem, with Reuters citing a source who claims the iPhone maker wants to have an in-house chip ready for use in some of its products by 2021, compared to previously reported timeframes of between 2022 and 2025.


Apple's transition to custom 5G modems will likely happen in phases, starting with lower-end and older models of devices, according to the report. Apple has a multiyear chipset supply agreement with Qualcomm, and a six-year patent license agreement, so it certainly does not have to rush the process.

The report does not explicitly mention the iPhone, so the first product with an Apple-designed modem could very well end up being an iPad. In any case, the transition away from Qualcomm will likely take years, as its modems lead the industry in performance and worldwide compatibility.

In the interim, Intel is expected to supply LTE modems for 2019 iPhones, with Apple returning to Qualcomm for the first 5G-enabled iPhones in 2020.

Tags: Qualcomm, 5G

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