Unexpectedly, the timing of Apples release of the 5G version of the iPhone was set for September 2020, which is what we call the launch time of the 12 series of new products of the iPhone. This is obviously a reasonable speculation. Among them, neither internal nor external reasons gave Apple the reason to release the 5G version of the iPhone in 2019.
Environment: 5G network deployment is not yet mature, products are in the water test stage
5G should not be a gimmick, but the commercial use of 5G network can not be achieved only by chips, which requires more mature network deployment.
5G Network Deployment
As the earliest in the 5G commercial deployment of all-round layout, and has become the worlds first echelon of China is still the case, the other countries in the worlds 5G commercial deployment process can be seen. The iPhone, a globally operated product, is unlikely to be pushed when the global 5G commercial deployment is immature.
In July 2019, after Apple officially released its third quarter earnings report, Apple CEO Cook officially confirmed that the new product of the iPhone will not have access to 5G network, and the current 5G technology is still in its infancy. In addition, Cook also said that the new concept of 5G network is still in a very early stage of testing, and now the manufacturers that release 5G mobile phones are only testing 5G business. In a few words, its not hard to see Apples judgment on the immature deployment of 5G network in the world, which is still in the water test stage.
According to data released recently by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), as of August 2019, 296 operators in 100 countries around the world have been identified as having started, demonstrated, tested or licensed to conduct on-site testing of 5G technology. However, there are worries about the immaturity of 5G network deployment. Korea was one of the first countries to deploy 5G commercially. By early September, its 5G users had exceeded 2.5 million. However, Korean operators obtained users through high terminal subsidy. As for the value and activity of these users, it is impossible to judge for the time being.
In August this year, Han Xia, director of the Information and Communication Administration of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, revealed that according to the current plan, China is expected to build more than 50,000 5G base stations in 50 cities in 2019. However, after giving a clear timetable, the construction of 5G base station still needs a certain period. In fact, due to the construction cycle, the current deployment of 5G network in various countries is generally not mature. The typical coverage range of 5G base stations is 100-300 meters. At present, the number of 4G base stations in China has exceeded 4.56 million. Compared with the 1-3 km coverage distance of 4G base stations, the number of base stations should be at least four times as large as that of 4G base stations.
At present, the coverage of 5G base station is still not high, so the experience of 5G mobile phone will be greatly discounted. Zhao Ming, President of Glory, once said that 5G mobile phones should first have 5G network for commercial use. It is not difficult to see that before the large-scale construction of 5G base stations is completed, 5G mobile phones can not give users a distinct experience from the use of 4G mobile phones, and manufacturers that have released 5G mobile phones will never define it as the main model in a short time, and its more role is still show muscle.
Users buy 5G mobile phones, but can not generally experience the 5G network, what is the significance? At present, the potential changes of 5G for vehicle networking (automatic driving, etc.), UAV networking and industrial Internet are far greater than those of ordinary mobile phone users.
Based on this, it is reasonable that Apple is not anxious to release the 5G mobile phone under the current 5G network deployment.
Product Strategy: Series Single Pursuit of Explosion
Apple is not the first bus to miss the wave of communications technology change. For Apple, snatching fast is largely against its iPhone product strategy.
Looking back on the era of 4G, HTCEVO 4G, the first mobile phone in the world to support the 4G network, was released in June 2010, of course, when it was still the world of HTC. Apples first 4G mobile phone, the iPhone 5, was released in September 2012, and in theory, it has been behind for two years. This shows that Apples killer mace is by no means fast. Similarly, by the time Apples first iPhone was released, the world had entered the era of 3G, and the first generation of the iPhone only supported 2G.
Unlike most Android mobile phone manufacturerssea tactics, according to Apples convention, the product line of the iPhone is relatively single. As a product-based technology company which is good at technology integration, it pursues explosion at the product level to bring users the best experience, so the product development cycle is relatively long. This year is recognized as the first year of 5G. From the perspective of the research and development cycle, Apple began to develop the 11 series of the iPhone last year, which was officially released this year. It can not catch up with the first wave of the 5G wave, but it is normal.
From the current expectation of 5G, we hope that 5G mobile phone can become a high-speed platform, not just as a connection pipeline, so it is more urgent for Apple to develop killer applications that can maximize the energy efficiency of this high-speed platform.
In addition, because the realization of 5G function requires more power consumption, the 5G mobile phones we can see now will basically need more bulky product form to ensure continuity. More importantly, at present, such as Qualcomm 5G baseband chip, which is not integrated into Soc, needs to be solved through the external 5G baseband solution, so it needs to occupy more mobile phone space. At present, most of the 5G mobile phones that have been released, including Huawei, have adopted the external plug-in solution, which will undoubtedly sacrifice the design and use more clumsy. Heavy cell phone appearance comes at the expense.
Above all, Apple would argue that there is absolutely no need to adopt such a solution that sacrifices product design and experience, but simply to grab the 5G first bus with few passengers on board.
Baseband Chip: Apples Eventual Problem
Although it is not a necessary condition at present, 5G baseband chip is also one of the reasons that affect the layout of Apple 5G products. This makes it necessary to mention the patent lawsuit between Apple and Qualcomm.
Before the iPhone 7, Qualcomm had been a supplier of Apples baseband chips, but since Apple refused to pay Qualcomms $1 billion patent fee, the relationship between the two giants has evolved into a spectacular drama, thus completely stopping cooperation. Since then, Intel has become a supplier of Apples baseband chips.
The long-term litigation war has deeply affected the strategic layout of both Apple and Qualcomm in the 5G battlefield. In April 2019, Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement. After Apple paid Qualcomm a fee, both Apple and Qualcomm announced on their official websites that they had agreed to abandon all lawsuits worldwide and reached a patent licensing agreement of up to six years plus two years of extension options, which meant that Qualcomm would remain Apple in the next few years. The largest supplier of communication baseband and 5G modem. But apparently, its too late for Apple to add the Qualcomm (baseband chip) to the 2019 line of the iPhone 11.
Intel, too, was one of Apples hopes for a 5G layout. In fact, since 2016, Apple has used Intels baseband on some of its iPhone 7 phones, and three of its new iPhones last year abandoned Qualcomms baseband chips because of patent litigation. The supplier completely switched to Intel. In November 2018, Intel released XMM81605G multi-mode baseband, which can be used for mobile phones, PCs and other network devices. However, the delivery time of this product is scheduled for the second half of 2019. The first batch of commercial devices will not be available until the first half of 2020. Therefore, Intel can not save the Apple iPhone 11 series in 2019.
In fact, in the early morning of Apples reconciliation with Qualcomm, Intel announced its withdrawal from the 5G modem (baseband chip) business. In response to this news, Intel CEO Bob Swan explained: We are excited about the opportunities of 5G and cloud computing, but for the smartphone modem business, there is clearly no clear way to make profits and get returns. Intel chose to quit in the face of difficulties.
Qualcomm and Intel are clearly unlikely to provide any Baseband Support for Apples 2019 5G version of the iPhone 11 series. Up to now, six companies have released 5G baseband chips: Huawei, Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, Ziguang Zhanrui and MediaTek.
Huawei Barron 5000 is powerful, but it will not be sold outside, only for its own products, the previous Huawei open to Apple to sell 5G baseband news, so far there is no following. Earlier, there were media reports that Apple had expressed its desire to buy 5G chips to Samsung, but Samsung refused on the grounds of insufficient capacity. Since then, Samsung Galaxy S105G version carries the 5G chip. The remaining two, Ziguang Zhanrui and Lianfeng Branch, the former Makalu Ivy 510 is a product for the mid-end market, while Lianfengs HelioM70, after being officially declared perfect, will only be the low-end models of mobile phone manufacturers such as OPPO, vivo and Huawei.
So far, it seems that only Apple develops 5G baseband independently, and 100% control of core technology is the most secure, which I believe will be the ultimate goal of Apple. However, according to industry sources, Apples self-developed 5G baseband will come out at least after 2021. There are even reports that due to technical reserves and patent licensing, the development process of Apple 5G baseband will be slower than expected, and it is not expected to be available until 2025. In fact, the plight of 5G baseband chips is not the main reason why the 11-series of the iPhone failed to reach 5G, but it is an urgent problem for Apple to solve in the future.
To sum up, no matter from the global deployment status of 5G network, Apples product strategy or the research and development status of 5G baseband chip, there is no reason for Apple to force boarding at this time. Judging from the current progress of network deployment and the research and development rhythm of Apple, the iPhone 12 Series in 2020 will launch 5 probabilities. G version.
Source: Liable Editor of Netease Science and Technology: Qiao Junjing_NBJ11279