Bloomberg has discussed the issue with "people familiar with the matter" who refuse to be named. The sources claim that Apple will wait until the 5G network matures and stabilises before releasing a compatible product.
It is a strategy Apple has adopted in the past, releasing 3G and 4G-enabled iPhones long after its competition. However, experts believe that it could be left languishing this time.
Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei and several other manufacturers have already confirmed that they will release 5G smartphones in 2019, with at least two of them expected to do so in the first half of the year.
Apple will therefore be playing catch up when it adopts the technology a year later.
In addition, it traditionally waited because both 3G and 4G networks started out patchy and in only a few areas when they launched. This time, all networks plan to get their 5G services up and running in early 2019 and, thanks to the speeds on offer, consumers are less likely to notice major signal drops.
By waiting, Apple might be giving its main rivals a significant advantage.
"Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology," Gartner analyst Mark Hung told Bloomberg.
"They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. If they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted."
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