Qualcomm 5GSource: Qualcomm

What you need to know

  • 5G iPhones are expected this year.
  • But mmWave, the fasted 5G, may not be ready until 2021.
  • That could also mean no iPhone 12 Pro.

Investment company Susquehanna says that we might have to wait until 2021 if we want to get our hands on the fastest 5G iPhones. That's in a new report picked up by CNBC, although 2020 might still be in the cards.

The report notes that while Apple will announce all of its 5G iPhones this September, not all of them will be ready to actually launch. Instead, the mmWave 5G iPhones – the ones that will be around 10x faster than LTE – will arrive in early 2021. Or, December 2020. Either way, it won't be in September.

The staggered release schedule is something Apple has done previously, too. It announced iPhone 8 and iPhone X alongside each other in September 2017, but the latter didn't go on sale for a few more weeks. It appears that a similar manouver is expected here, too.

But the most interesting news here is that Susquehanna also reckons that the standard 5G iPhones will all make use of LCD screens. That would suggest iPhone 12 will be 5G. But the mmWave 5G handsets will reportedly all use OLED which points to iPhone 12 Pro. If everything Susquehanna believes is accurate that would mean iPhone 12 Pro, Apple's flagship iPhone, might not ship in 2020 at all.

Susquehanna said the slower 5G iPhones will have LCD screens while the mmWave iPhones will have better OLED screens, like the screens in today's iPhone 11 Pro. This means the successor to the iPhone 11 may only support slower but more widespread 5G networks while the more premium successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max will also support faster but less widespread mmWave networks.

That, in turn, would mean a whole year with no flagship iPhone. Now that would be new.