Last month, Apple crystal ball holder and analyst for TF International Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, released a research note predicting what to expect from a 2020 iPhone line up.
Kuo, known for his eerily accurate Apple hardware predictions, said 2020 would bring new 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models featuring 5G networking, while a 6.1-inch model would stick with LTE.
Now, Kuo has released a follow up to his June research note, obtained by MacRumors, citing a revised prediction of what to expect for 2020. Kuo says Apple will now make all three iPhone models support 5G.
The 6.1-inch model originally said to use LTE will now support 5G according to Kuo, to better compete with lower-cost Android smartphones. The change is being helped by Apple’s recent acquisition of Intel’s 5G smartphone modem unit. Apple is still pegged to use Qualcomm modems for 2020 as part of an existing partnership:
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 iPhoneafter 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.
The analyst says these new 2020 iPhones will all support mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum for 5G. The majority of 5G marketing is based on mmWave, the fastest speeds available in dense, urban areas.
For rural and suburban areas, Sub-6GHz leverages both low and mid-bands to meet close to mmWave 5G speeds. Kuo says Apple may not have enough resources to debut an iPhone with only Sub-6GHz support, which would come with a lower cost.
The analyst says despite the same form factor for these iPhone models, a 2020 iPhone with mmWave and Sub-6GHz and one with just Sub-6GHz are seen as “different projects.”
Canada’s first prime Sub-6GHz band auction is seen as the 3.5 GHz spectrum auction, which isn’t set to be held until late 2020 or early 2021, according to the federal government.