Apple is telling its suppliers that it expects to sell 100 million iPhones equipped with 5G in 2020, according to a new report from Digitimes. As reported by AppleInsider, DigiTimes says that the information comes from within Apple’s Taiwanese parts supply chain.
Apple currently ships no phones with 5G capabilities, and there are very few 5G-capable handsets out there from Apple’s competitors either. U.S. cell carriers are only now bringing nascent 5G services online: AT&T is launching its 5G network in a handful of cities next month, as is T-Mobile, which also plans to give away 5G services to first responders for 10 years if its merger deal with Sprint passes regulatory hurdeles. Despite that, Apple was criticized by analysts and tech experts when the iPhone 11 failed to have 5G capabilities – something many of those folks saw as a critical strategic shortcoming for Apple.
With no 5G infrastructure in Apple’s key domestic market and current handsets with 5G suffering issues like overheating and fast battery rundown, Apple hasn’t been in a rush to jump on the 5G bandwagon. Qualcomm is said to be making the “most advanced” 5G chips available for the next-generation iPhone.
Previous reports had pegged Apple’s expectations for a 5G handset closer to 80 million – about the same Apple anticipates overall for the iPhone 11 series. It’s unclear why Apple now thinks 5G will give it a 20% bump, but it’s a significant increase, and Apple’s telling its part vendors to gird their loins for the upsurge in demand.
It’s worth noting that DigiTimes is notoriously unreliable when it comes to the Apple rumor mill, so take what you read with a grain of salt.