How and When Apple Will Deliver 5G Wireless on its iPhones

5G wireless and iPhone 12

Everyone is in a tizzy with 5G wireless starting to become more tangible. Digital Trends tells us “What to expect around 5G at Mobile World Congress 2019.

5G wireless and iPhone

5G is designed to enable you to download videos onto your smartphone from just about anywhere with virtually no buffer time – and they won’t be in 720p, but in 4K. If you are already all caught up on your favorite movies and TV shows, you could switch over to live multiplayer gaming without fearing the dreaded surprise lag in the heat of battle.

But there are, as usual issues. One show stopper is Apple’s access to a 5G modem, given its legal battle with Qualcomm. Apple will use an Intel 5G modem, but that won’t be available until 2020. AppleInsider explains.

Apple is currently believed to be leaving out 5G connectivity as a feature of the 2019 iPhones, in favor of waiting another year before adding support for the wireless technology. While speculation and analysis indicates that is likely to be the case, Intel has seemingly confirmed it won’t be able to help Apple if it decided to add 5G to the iPhone this year.

Competitors will ship and tout 5G phones in 2019 in an attempt to one-up Apple, but networks in the U.S. won’t really be ready and widespread until 2020. Meanwhile, you’ll hear about test cities. It doesn’t help that AT&T is “Playing Fast and Loose with 5G Nomenclature.

• Lest you think, anyway, that Apple is falling behind the smartphone competition, Jason Cross at Macworld sets us straight about the supposed sex appeal of Samsung’s folding phones. “Apple fans shouldn’t worry about Samsung’s new phones.

Wi-Fi 6

• Speaking of nomenclature, Wi-Fi terminology is changing. The Wi-Fi Alliance is moving away from geeky terms like 802.11n and 802.11ac and moving to generations. 802.11ac was the fifth generation of Wi-Fi and 802.11ax is generation number six, to be called “Wi-Fi 6.” The Verge explains it all. “Wi-Fi 6: is it really that much faster?

This is a good move for all but those Mr. Spock followers who love to rattle off geeky, insider nomenclature like 802.11ax and amaze infuriate their friends.

Surveillance Capitalism

In addition to the horrific spying that Facebook is doing, as revealed by the Wall Street Journal this week, there are also threats to democracy inherent in this kind of data collection and corresponding influence. In Kara Swisher’s podcast, Shoshana Zuboff proposes that “Google and Facebook have become ‘antithetical to democracy.’”

“You cannot have a well-functioning democracy with massive inequalities of knowledge and power,” Zuboff added. “That’s eroding democracy from the big institutional level, but now from the individual level, from the inside out. The fact that our autonomy is comprised, that these things are happening outside of our awareness, that they can take hold of our behavior and shift it and modify it in ways that we don’t know.”

Eye Spy on Your TV
Surveillance everywhere.

• As we explained in The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast for February 22, Apple needs to put a stop to apps that say one thing and then sell or share your personal data to Facebook. This activity violates Tim Cook’s principle that privacy is a human right.

Mac Pro

• We’ve heard and discussed this next rumor about the 2019 Mac Pro before (here), but now it has resurfaced. Cult of Mac writes: “Next Mac Pro may use stackable design for ultimate customization.

Information supposedly leaking out of the design team for the next Mac Pro claims this desktop computer will totally and completely fulfil Apple’s promise to make it modular. Rather than a single unit it will allegedly consist of stackable components that can be easily swapped in and out as needed.

This could go a long way towards making the base Mac Pro model affordable to many while allowing those with deeper pockets and need for more power to expand the system gracefully. This could be very cool.

2013 Mac Pro
Sometime this year, this gem is going to look very aged indeed.

• Finally, anyone who has bought one of Apple’s new MacBook/Air/Pros with only USB-C ports knows that they live in dongle hell. But if you’re one of them and would like to wallow in your grief along with others, here’s an ode to the whole affair. “Why Apple’s dongle problem isn’t getting any better.

I can’t wait to see what selection of ports the base model 2019 Mac Pro has. With luck, it’ll look like a superset of the 2018 Mac mini.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

4 thoughts on “How and When Apple Will Deliver 5G Wireless on its iPhones

  • Lot of hype about 5G. Think there is still a big infrastructure issue that needs to be resolved. New 5G network sites with antennas on street light poles or utility poles. Access agreements with cities to the street light poles, etc.. Effective 5G range is so much shorter than 4G LTE.

    Just don’t see any of the above going on right now. I’m assuming wide 5G adaption won’t occur until the 2023 to 2025 time frame.

  • On that 9to5Mac article about the MacPro you left out the most important part: It may now not ship until 2020.
    Me thinks I detect the slightest air of vaporware beginning to seep into this valiant effort..

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