Huawei, Oppo, Samsung are going to release their first 5G network supported smartphone in 2019 and how about California technology company? Recent news about the settlement between Apple and Qualcomm and past history of iPhone LTE rollout give a strong hint that the first 5G iPhone model would not be ready earlier than 2020 September.
The earliest 5G radio modem still has rooms for improvement on its size and power efficiency. Everyone knows that the Cupertino tech giant like to make its phones very slim and so the existing 5G chipset is too thick to fulfill their ambition.
Meanwhile, 5G cellular coverage is not well established yet and Apple should prefer more spots to well established before start promoting their 5G flagship. Also, 4G networks will continue to expand and Apple should choose to sit back and letting Android users figure out what 5G is before it is widely adopted.
Given that America is still the biggest iPhone market, 5G may not still be widespread until 2022 or even further, as half of all North American wireless subscriptions will be for 4G.
However, if Apple would like to stay competitive in China, they have to make sure their smartphone must be as innovative as other like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, so they would suffer if their 5G models are yet to come after 2021.
To conclude, if you are looking to tap into the 5G world, my suggestion is to save your cash and buy a refurbished or used iPhone at this moment and wait!