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今年的新款iPhone为什么没有5G?

Don Reisinger 2019年04月27日

苹果将在今年发布的新款iPhone手机有一个重大缺憾——不支持5G。

苹果将在今年发布的新款iPhone手机有一个重大缺憾——不支持5G。

下个月,苹果的竞争对手三星计划向美国市场发布首款5G智能手机Galaxy S10 5G。这款手机内置高通芯片,可以连接美国和韩国的5G网络。将要面世的一加OnePlus 7、三星Galaxy Note 10以及其他一些安卓智能手机据说也会配备5G芯片。

业界的大多数观察员都认为5G是下一个热点。AT&T、威瑞森等无线运营商才刚刚开始推出5G技术,和目前的4G LTE网络相比,5G显著提高了移动网络的连接速度。美国的5G网速可以超过每秒1Gbps,比4G快10到20倍,具体数值要看网络状况。

然而,目前看来,除非有什么不可预料的情况出现,否则苹果2019年的iPhone将不支持5G。

去年有几份报告表明,苹果当时与芯片制造商英特尔合作测试调制解调器,想让iPhone能够接入5G网络。这些报告称,芯片测试由于连接问题屡次失败,最终迫使苹果从2019年的iPhone中删除该功能。

英特尔在本周退出了5G调制解调器业务。

另一家芯片制造商联发科技(MediaTek)也在制造5G芯片,去年苹果公司表示将考虑在日后推出的新款iPhone手机中使用该公司的芯片。但同样的,联发科技也无法为2019年的iPhone提供5G调制解调器。

苹果在评估其他选项,却无法选择与高通公司合作,尽管该公司已经拥有可用的5G芯片。原因是苹果控告高通收取过高的处理器授权使用费,两家公司的纠纷已经持续了好几年。高通反诉苹果,称苹果因为在iPhone中使用高通技术,欠了它几十亿美元。

然而,双方于周二在这个备受瞩目的案子上达成了和解。他们还签署了一份为期六年的授权协议,允许苹果在日后的iPhone中使用高通芯片。

对于想用5G的用户来说,这似乎是个好消息——但今年新出的iPhone还用不上。

科技分析研究所(Technalysis Research)的分析师鲍勃·奥唐奈尔向科技资讯网(CNET)表示,苹果需要在春天就确定iPhone的设计和组件,才能保证在秋天发布新手机之前已经做好量产准备。奥唐奈尔表示,即使苹果公司想要急急忙忙地在iPhone中加入5G,仍然需要花几个月对这些组件进行测试,手机才能投产。

最理想的情况是苹果和高通现在就开始研究5G的问题,在明年的手机中加上。

投资公司Canaccord Genuity的分析师麦克·沃克利在本周给投资者的一份文件中表示,“我们认为苹果和高通需要在4月之前启动合作,才能按照惯例在2020年9月推出具有5G功能的iPhone。”

《财富》杂志请苹果对该公司的5G计划发表评论,但没有得到回应。该公司高管对未来可能开展的5G计划都保持沉默。苹果通常只有在推出新产品时才会谈论其硬件功能。

苹果的竞争对手无疑正在密切关注这一缺憾。等到今年秋天如期而至的新款iPhone出货时,有几款安卓手机都能连接5G网络。对于一些用户而言,相比之下,苹果的iPhone可能就会显得过时了。

然而,或许也不会过时。

目前,威瑞森仅在芝加哥和明尼阿波利斯提供5G服务。AT&T和威瑞森已经表示他们将在今年增加几十个新的5G市场,但其他许多城市仍然只有传统的4G LTE。对于全国大部分地区而言,5G手机不会带来任何好处,因为无网可连。

因此,2019款iPhone不太可能和5G兼容也许没什么大不了的。尽管5G对于日后提升移动网络的连接速度、改善设备之间的通信至关重要,但它仍然远未普及。

5G的普及最早也要等到2020年了,那时苹果可能已准备好新的iPhone了。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Apple’s newest iPhones will have one significant omission when they’re released later this year—no 5G technology.

Next month, rival Samsung plans to release its first 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G, to the U.S. The device includes a Qualcomm chip that lets the device connect to 5G networks in the U.S. and Korea. Other smartphones, including the upcoming OnePlus 7, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, and other Android smartphones, are also said to come with a 5G chip.

Most industry watchers agree that 5G is the next big thing. The technology, which wireless carriers including AT&T and Verizon are just starting to roll out, dramatically increases mobile connection speeds compared to current 4G LTE networks. In the U.S., 5G speeds could top 1Gbps per second and are up to 10 to 20 times faster than LTE, depending on network conditions.

However, at this point, barring an unforeseen circumstance, Apple’s 2019 iPhone won’t take advantage of that.

According to several reports last year, Apple was working with chipmaker Intel to test a modem so its iPhones could connect to 5G networks. Those reports said the chip testing suffered setbacks caused by connectivity problems that ultimately forced Apple to remove it from 2019 iPhones.

Intel exited the 5G modem business this week.

Another chip maker, MediaTek, is also building a 5G chip, and Apple said last year that it would consider using it in future iPhones. But again, MediaTek wouldn’t be able to supply 5G modems for 2019 iPhones.

While evaluating alternatives, Apple couldn’t partner with Qualcomm, even though it already has a working 5G chip. The reason: Apple and Qualcomm were in years-long dispute over accusations that Qualcomm charged exorbitant licensing fees on its processors. Qualcomm counter-sued Apple, arguing that Apple owed it billions of dollars for using Qualcomm technology in iPhones.

On Tuesday, however, the companies settled the high-profile case. They also signed a six-year licensing agreement that would allow Apple to use Qualcomm chips in future iPhones.

For 5G-seekers, that would seem like good news—but not for upcoming iPhones this year.

Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell told CNET that Apple needs to finalize iPhone design and components in the spring to ensure it’s ready for mass production before debuting the phones in the fall. Even if Apple tried to rush 5G to the iPhone, the company would still need to spend months testing the components before the phone would be ready for production, O’Donnell said.

The best case scenario is for Apple and Qualcomm to work on 5G now and put it in next year’s iPhones.

“We believe Apple and Qualcomm needed to start working together by April for Apple to launch 5G enabled smartphones for its September 2020 iPhone launch timeframe,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley said in a note to investors this week.

Apple did not respond to a Fortune request for comment on its 5G plans. The company’s executives have also been silent on any possible 5G plans for the future. Apple generally only speaks about hardware features when it unveils new products.

Apple’s competitors are undoubtedly paying close attention to the omission. When the inevitable new iPhone ships this fall, several Android smartphones will be capable of connecting to 5G networks. To some, Apple’s iPhone could look obsolete in comparison.

Then again, it may not.

Currently, Verizon’s 5G service is only available in Chicago and Minneapolis. AT&T and Verizon have said they would add dozens of new 5G markets this year, but many other cities will still just have legacy 4G LTE. For most of the country, a 5G phone would be of no benefit, since there wouldn’t be a 5G network to connect to.

So perhaps it’s no big deal that 2019 iPhones are unlikely to be 5G compatible. As crucial as the technology will be in the future to lift mobile connection speeds and improve communication between devices, it’s still far from ubiquitous.

When 5G is widely available—2020, at the earliest—Apple may have an iPhone ready.

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