Apple is assembling suppliers to launch the company’s first 5G iPhones, the Nikkei Asian Review said on Wednesday (Oct. 30).
The three new iPhone models will be powered by a Qualcomm 5G modem chip, sources familiar with the plan told Nikkei.
Apple is hoping to recapture its position of tech stardom by revamping its product offerings in 2020, sources told Nikkei. Sales of iPhones account for about 50 percent of Apple’s earnings.
The sources also said Apple intends to distribute a minimum of 80 million of the new 5G phones. Its major competitors, Samsung and Huawei, have already launched 5G phones, as have smaller competitors Oppo and Xiaomi.
"It will be the first time Apple introduces 5G iPhones … there will be three of them, and the company has set an aggressive sales target," the source told the news outlet.
5G technology is essential to the expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), making remote surgery, self-driving cars and other advancements feasible.
"The infrastructure is very costly. ... Apple's move to introduce all three 5G iPhones will increase carriers' confidence to invest," Eddie Han, senior industry analyst at the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute, told Nikkei Asian Review.
Apple’s support of the technology is expected to push global carriers like AT&T and Verizon to speed up their rollout of 5G infrastructure. China has already been building out 5G capabilities around the country.
"Apple is lagging behind somewhat in introducing 5G products, and it definitely wants to catch up," Joey Yen, a tech analyst at market research agency IDC, told the news outlet. "5G is one of the fanciest marketing buzzwords around ... [especially] in such a mature and competitive market. It is a feature that can grab consumer attention and [allow companies to] claim they are technology leaders."
5G is expected to fuel a whole new economic era, dubbed the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Verizon is already offering the new technology in New York City. The company is tracking to have 5G in 30 cities by the end of the year.