Qualcomm 5GSource: Qualcomm

What you need to know

  • The 2021 iPhone may only include one type of 5G technology.
  • Apple may base 5G tech inside the iPhone on if a region uses the technology.
  • The 2020 iPhones may also reserve 5G for the Pro models.

While the iPhone 12 is expected to feature both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G technologies, Apple may have different plans for the iPhone 13 next year.

According to a new report from DigiTimes, Apple is considering support one, but not both, 5G technologies in its iPhone lineup in 2021.

"Apple's 2020 series of iPhones will work on both sub-6GHz and millimeter wave 5G networks, and the vendor is considering introducing its iPhones supporting either mmWave or sub-6GHz for specific markets next year, according to industry sources in Taiwan."

As MacRumors explains, Apple may choose to do this since certain regions of the world are implementing one technology over the other. In areas that only use sub-6GHz, Apple could drop mmWave from the iPhone to save on production costs.

All of the 2020 iPhones are expected to have the same modem hardware that supports all 5G bands, but Apple could disable mmWave in countries where it is not operational or turn off 5G entirely in countries without 5G networks to reduce its production costs as antennas are required to work with the modem hardware ... DigiTimes' report suggests that the 2021 iPhones could perhaps have different hardware that only supports one network, rather than Apple disabling hardware, but we'll have to wait to see what happens with the 2020 iPhones to get a better picture of what we can expect for the 2021 iPhone lineup as the rumors about which iPhones will support which networks are somewhat confusing at this time.

Apple is also rumored to potentially omit 5G from the base model iPhones this year and reserve the technology for its Pro models. While this would make sense, it would seem odd for the company to create a piecemeal approach to what technology is featured in the iPhone by region, especially since the iPhone is one of the most popular devices to use for international travel.