5G allows competition to take a bite out of the ‘Apple’

Until the release of 5G, Apple has always been ahead of the game when it comes to technology.  All of the major U.S. handset sellers have shown, announced or launched 5G devices. Motorola has already unveiled its 5G device. Soon, LG Electronics Inc. will follow suit. Then, Samsung will launch on April 18. Meanwhile, Apple isn’t expected to release a compatible 5G iPhone this year.

What’s taking Apple so long?

Apple currently works with chipmaker Intel Corp., which doesn’t expect to be able to sell 5G until 2020. Apple’s legal battle with Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of key 5G chips, may be a reason for the delay in 5G devices. Apple has challenged Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices and the case is expected to go before a jury later this month. The need for 5G chips may give Apple reason to quickly settle the case.

Apple’s phone rivals aren’t wasting any time. With Apple nowhere in sight, LG and Motorola are trying to launch their 5G devices sooner rather than later. Verizon expects to have 5G in 30 cities by the end of the year.

How does this impact consumers?

For the next few months, Verizon users will only be able to use 5G services in select blocks of select cities. It will surf on 4G the rest of the time. People who want to quickly download a huge presentation or play a first-shooter mobile game may see advantages to 5G. It will be years before having a 5G handset will make a material difference in anyone’s user experience.

Apple is not the first to adopt new technologies. However, it’s credited with adding features in a more elegant, consumer-friendly way. Apple appears to be in no rush, as 90 percent of Apple’s iOS users tend to upgrade to another Apple product.