Wondering if the iPhone is 5G, or when Apple will launch a 5G iPhone? You may be in for a long wait.

While other smartphone manufacturers may launch smartphones that work with 5G in 2019, it sounds like Apple won’t be ready to do so until 2020.

Apparently Intel is to blame. According to Fast Company sources, the Intel 5G modem chip that Apple is currently working with is suffering from “heat dissipation issues”.

5G pushes the modem to such an extent that it generates a lot of heat.

It’s thought that Apple will continue to rely on Intel to provide the 5G modem, but Fast Company reports that the company does have a “Plan B” in the form of MediaTek who could also provide a 5G modem for future iPhone models (although that is an unlikely scenario).

What is 5G?

5G is the successor to 4G. It should be able to offer download speeds of around 1Gb/s (gigabits per second) - maybe even 10Gb/s. That would make it possible to download am HD movie in just 10 seconds (rather than around 10 minutes as is currently the case).

It should also pave the way for new technological advancements such as driverless cars, as it will offer lower latency, which basically means less delay. That should also be good for online gaming, delivery drones and other things that require an always on connection.

5G logo

You can also expect to see more in the way of VR and AR applications and IoT gadgets will become more common as more devices will be connected to the internet.

3G will use higher radio frequencies, which are less cluttered and can carry information faster. However, they don’t carry the information as far, so more antennas are needed.

When will we get 5G?

Whether you will be able to access 5G networks in the near future depends on where you are based. Even once coverage arrives it is likely to be restricted to major cities.

In some parts of the world 5G is already arriving - although coverage is likely to remain limited for some time. For example, in the US roll out for AT&T and T-Mobile are expected towards the end of 2018 while Verizon and Sprint’s 5G is expected in the first half of 2019.

In the UK 5G won’t be rolled out until late 2019, with EE saying that it plans to launch 5G in late 2019. EE, Vodafone and O2 are all running 5G trials. Other networks may not offer 5G until 2020. Expect coverage to be limited at first - you might have to wait until 2022 before 5G reaches you if you aren’t in a major city.

As for smartphones - Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi are expected to launch 5G ready handsets early in 2019.

Will the iPhone XS work with 5G?

No existing iPhones will be able to use the 5G network. In fact, it looks like even the 2019 iPhone won't be able to use the 5G network.

However the iPhone XS and XS Max offer Gigabit LTE. If your carrier supports Gigabit LTE you could take advantage a faster connection and your phone should be better able to find and maintain the connection when the signal is weak.

iPhone XS Max 5G