Beats Powerbeats Pro review: Beat it, AirPods

Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds on a book.

The Powerbeats Pro have the same over-ear hook design as the standard Powerbeats, but they ditch the wire connecting them.

Apple and Beats fans can finally marvel at a great pair of true wireless earbuds. While these are $100 more than the AirPods, they sound significantly better and provide a more stable fit. If you’re on the fence, there are plenty of reasons to take the plunge and invest in Beats.

Read the in-depth review by SoundGuys

What are the Beats Powerbeats Pro like?

Beats Powerbeats Pro in charging case, aerial view.

The charging case is larger than the AirPods’ and charges via a Lightning cable.

These are how true wireless earbuds should have been designed from the start. The unobtrusive ear hooks take the pressure off the ear canal for a more balanced, stable fit. Additionally, the dedicated nozzles make these sound infinitely better than the AirPods.

Battery life is impeccable: these provide just under 11 hours of playback on a single charge.

The earbuds sport a minimalist design and come in four colors: black, ivory, navy, and moss. Don’t let the clean look fool you, though; these are packed to the gills with sensors. Both housings have proximity sensors which automatically pause media playback when the earbuds are removed. Plus, the microphone array uses accelerometers to detect when you’re speaking. The same sensors automatically power the earbuds off when dormant.

Controls are a bit different than the AirPods as the Powerbeats Pro have tactile volume rockers for each earbud, while holding the “b” symbol lets you deny incoming calls. These also benefit from the new H1 chip, so hands-free Siri access is enabled.

The H1 chip is also responsible for the Powerbeat Pro’s insane battery life. Listeners get 10 hours, 52 minutes of playback on a single charge when used with an iPhone XS Max, which is remarkable for true wireless technology. The case holds an additional 1.5 charges, allowing for more than 24 hours of playback. It also supports fast charging whereby five minutes in the case affords 1.5 hours of playback. 

Although the Powerbeats Pro aren’t waterproof, they are IPX4-certified. You can’t submerge them, but they should withstand any terrestrial workouts. If you’re an iPhone-using athlete, these are the best workout earbuds you can get. The fit is more stable than the Jabra Elite 65T and integrated volume controls can’t be found on Jabra’s earbuds. That said, if you prioritize durability and value, the Elite 65T earbuds are the smarter pick. 

Related: Are the AirPods 2 worth it?

How do the Powerbeats Pro sound?

Beats Powerbeats Pro in a man's' hand.

The ear hooks prevent any undue jostling.

Editor’s Pick

The Powerbeats Pro support the AAC Bluetooth codec and sound good. Beats’ bass-heavy sound is recognizable yet inoffensive. Much of the bass response is attributed to the nozzles and ear tips. By creating a proper seal, outside noise is less likely to undermine low-end reproduction. This makes your music more clear.

Highs also receive a nice boost, which makes treble notes easier to hear above vocals and general instrumental noise. Vocals and string instruments sound about three-quarters as loud as bass and treble notes. While this doesn’t matter much for athletes who just want a strong beat to follow, it may be aggravating for casual listening. Most consumers will thoroughly enjoy the Powerbeats Pro’s sound signature, though.

The distinct nozzles make the Powerbeats Pro sound remarkably better than the AirPods.

If you’re taking calls with the Powerbeats Pro, voice transmission is clear enough. Those with particularly low voices will sound a little muffled. Even then, however, the inaccuracy is bearable. Wind noise is filtered out fairly well by the downward-facing microphones, making these great for on-the-go calls.

Should you buy the Powerbeats Pro?

The Powerbeats Pro remedy the AirPods’ most offensive flaws. Fit is no longer an issue and bass reproduction actually sounds good. That said, they are $100 more than the new AirPods with a standard charging case. Athletes and anyone sick of having their iPhone earbuds fall out of their ears may find the tradeoff justifiable. If you can stomach the Powerbeats Pro’s price, they’re absolutely worth it.

Samsung said to be providing Apple with OLED displays for 16-inch MacBook Pro, iPad Pros

A photo of an iPad showing a game developed by the Final Fantasy creator. Apple

Samsung is reportedly in talks with Apple to supply the latter with OLED displays. According to The Elec, Apple will feature the displays in its rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro and future iPad Pro models.

The Elec doesn’t have a track record of Apple rumors, so take the report with a big grain of salt. That said, the report claims that Samsung is using a Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE) method of production to create thinner OLED panels. Such a method can lead to thinner versions of the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, though it also offers more space for something like a larger battery.

Samsung currently supplies Apple with OLED displays for the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max.

Editor’s Pick

If the report is true, the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro will be the first Apple computer to feature an OLED display. The future iPad Pro models will also be the first in Apple’s series of tablets to make the switch from LCD to OLED.

According to leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the machine will launch sometime this year with a new design. Kuo also said Apple will start to mass-produce two new iPad Pro models between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.

NEXT: Report: Apple’s in-house 5G modem over 5 years away, Qualcomm truce only way out

Report: Apple and HTC might be over-estimating their phone battery stats

  • In its tests, Which? found that Apple and HTC over-estimated their claims of talk time for their phones.
  • Compared to Apple’s claims, Which? found results to be between 18 and 51 percent lower.
  • Which? didn’t share much of its testing methodology.

With battery life arguably one of the most important features in a smartphone, we hope that manufacturers tell the truth when it comes to their battery claims. However, Consumers’ Association brand name Which? found that Apple and HTC may have overestimated their battery claims.

Starting with Apple, Which? reportedly tested nine iPhone models and found that all nine models fell short of Apple’s publicized battery estimates. For example, Which? found that the iPhone XR lasted for 16 hours and 52 minutes of talk time. Apple claims that the iPhone XR lasts “up to 25 hours” of talk time.

As for HTC, the company claims an average talk time of 20.5 hours for its smartphones. However, Which? found the average to be 19.6 hours in its tests.

Editor’s Pick

It wasn’t all bad, as Which? found that Nokia, Samsung, and Sony actually under-estimated their phones’ talk time. Which? specifically mentioned the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, which reportedly delivered 25 hours and 52 minutes of talk time. That’s a nine-hour difference from the 17 hours of talk time that Sony claims for the phone.

That said, Which? didn’t share how it achieved these results. The brand claims that it fully charged independently-purchased phones and then made continuous calls. Which? didn’t provide other testing parameters, such as whether the calls were made on Wi-Fi or cellular, whether the phones only had stock apps or also had other installed apps, whether software versions changed anything, and how many tests it conducted per device.

It’s also a bit strange to see the Xperia Z5 Compact tested since Sony launched the phone in 2015. Also, Which? didn’t provide a full list of tested phones in its press release.

When Which? reached out to Apple for comment, the latter had the following to say:

We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manager power usage to maximize battery life. Our testing methodology reflects that intelligence.

Which? haven’t shared their methodology with us so we can’t compare their results to ours. We share our methodology for testing which we publish in detail here https://www.apple.com/iphone/battery.html.

HTC also responded and issued the following statement:

At HTC we diligently test all aspects of product performances. Differences in setup and testing environments may result in some variation to stated talk time figures.

Android Authority reached out to Apple for comment and received the same response as Which? received, as posted above. You can go here to learn how Android Authority tests a phone’s battery life.

NEXT: Apple hit hardest as global smartphone shipments continue to slip

What does the Apple H1 chip mean for audio? Do Android users have an alternative?

New AirPods 2 on comic book.

The market for true wireless earbuds is gradually picking up steam and figuring out which one to buy is becoming a bigger challenge. Apple’s AirPods stand out from the crowd, not always for the best reasons, but the company excels at branding, as we know. So much so that fans will happily talk about Apple processor capabilities, including the little chips tucked into its headphones, such as the Apple W1 and newer H1 model.

The Apple H1 chip is found inside the second generation Apple AirPods, touting a range of improvements in the ever-growing true wireless headphone market. While you might not want to buy into the Apple ecosystem and question their bang for buck, the convenience of Apple’s pairing system is hard to ignore.

Are Beats headphones worth it?

What does the Apple H1 do?

Let’s back up a second and consider what exactly the Apple H1 chip does. It’s not a processor in the smartphone or PC sense, it’s not running a complex operating system or powering a display. No, the H1 is a streamlined chip designed for just a few tasks. Apple keeps the innards of its chip a secret, but we do know that it includes a modem for handling Bluetooth connectivity, a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for decoding the compressed audio stream, and a co-processor (possibly a second DSP) for handling sensor information.

A highly optimized processor can make significant battery savings over a more generic design. As a result, the Apple H1 boasts some battery life improvements over the W1. Talk time reaches up to 3 hours rather than just 2, and up to 5 hours of audio playback. There’s new support for voice-activated Siri commands (in addition to a double-tap), and Bluetooth 5.0 support, up from 4.2. Bluetooth 5.0 support isn’t meaningful for headphones quality, as audio codec profiles still utilize lower transfer rates. Although Bluetooth 5.0 does allow for audio streaming to multiple devices at once. Bluetooth 5 is primarily aimed at lower power consumption, and could be more important should the chip end up in other wireless devices.

Editor’s Pick

On the plus side, latency is 30 percent lower between the H1 and W1. This is good news for mobile gamers. Apple also promises that connection times when switching devices is now twice as fast. So you can hop between your Apple Watch or iPad faster than ever before. The chip’s sensor support also means that it can detect which AirPod is in your ear, so it only uses the microphone you’re actually wearing when making calls.

That’s all very smart, but the Apple H1 doesn’t support everything that serious audio users may desire. AAC is the only audio codec on board. There’s no third-party proprietary aptX or LDAC, which offer superior quality on Android handsets. So that’s a big “no” to higher resolution audio and minimal compression. There’s also no active noise cancellation (ANC) support that we know of, meaning poor isolation from outside noises. If you’re after these features, you’ll want to look at other chips and headsets.

Some of the H1’s best features, such as a strong connection and fast pairing, aren’t available to Android users.

new AirPods (2019) and Samsung Galaxy Buds adjacent to one another on a table.

Alternative chips and products

If you’re keen to steer clear of the Apple ecosystem or fancy some different headphones, there are plenty of decent AirPods 2019 alternatives out there. Many also feature chips that offer similar or even superior levels of technology. The Apple H1 is certainly not the only game in town.

Broadcom BCM43014

Broadcom is a big name in the wireless communications business and has its own range of true wireless audio chips. The BCM43014 powers the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which were announced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S10 series this year.

The BCM43014 is also a Bluetooth 5 chip, for what that’s worth, complete with an audio DSP and sensor hub technology for touch, IR, and proximity sensors. The chip supports fast scan and connection options to improve pairing speed. There’s no ANC with the Galaxy Buds, but the BCM43014 mentions the integration of advanced acoustic algorithms that reduce background noise, which could be available to other units.

Editor’s Pick

The Galaxy Buds support SBC, AAC, and Samsung’s in-house Scalable Audio & Speech Codec. The programmable nature of the microcontroller CPU suggests that other codecs could be implemented on this hardware, but it’s not clear if there are other requirements here and implementation would be product-dependent.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds certainly fit the bill as an AirPod 2019 competitor. There are many design and feature similarities between the two, although Samsung is lacking the always-on voice commands. The BCM43014 is a little more general purpose than Apple’s H1, but it’s comparable with what Apple is doing in terms of quality and features.

Qualcomm QCC and CSR series

Qualcomm is the big name in Android smartphone chips and has its own range of wireless audio SoCs too. In this observer’s option, this is where to look for some of the industry’s most cutting-edge audio features. The list includes high-quality codec support in the form of aptX and optional LDAC, feedforward and feedback Hybrid ANC, and ultra-low power consumption.

Much of Qualcomm’s audio efforts are spun out of its acquisition of aptX from CSR back in 2010, before buying the entire company in 2015. Qualcomm sells a wide range of audio chips under the CSR naming scheme, which you’ll find inside Bluetooth headphones, speakers, and dongles. Features include AAC, aptX, and LDAC codec support, noise cancellation, and voice detection.

Editor’s Pick

The latest audio chip models in the lineup fall under the QCC branding. The QCC5100 is the flagship tier, offering aptX, HD, and low latency Adaptive codec support, along with Hybrid ANC, True Wireless Stereo Plus capabilities, and voice-activated Assistant controls. The dual-core DSP can be used for audio and sensor applications. This range is also incorporated into the Qualcomm eXtension program, which helps developers implement optional third-party audio technologies, from custom tuning algorithms to Sony’s LDAC codec. In terms of audio quality, low latency potential, and features, the QCC5100 goes well beyond the Apple H1.

The QCC300X series is the more affordable option. This series does away with noise canceling, only works with aptX classic, and isn’t in the eXtension program. Likewise, voice controls are out, and there’s just a single-core DSP unit which limits the processing available for sensors.

Unfortunately, Qualcomm’s QCC range of products has not appeared in many true wireless headphones to date. According to sources who have spoken with us, Qualcomm’s technology is more expensive than its rivals and some potential partners aren’t aware of its true wireless product portfolio. Bad news for those hoping that Qualcomm could haul the Android Bluetooth ecosystem out of its messy position.

Android’s Bluetooth latency needs a major overhaul for real-time content

Other mentions

For earbud manufacturers, there is a range of other options on the market too. Microchip, Nordic Semiconductor, RealTek, MediaTek, and others offer SoCs for wireless audio products. However, many are not as optimized for earbuds like the H1.

Most of these products, including the MediaTek MT2533 and Microchip IS2064, support SBC and AAC by default, but not more advanced codecs. LDAC is an option in some specific products, such as the IS2064GM-0L3. A few SoCs also include echo and noise suppression technologies, Bluetooth 5 for lower power consumption, and support for true wireless earbuds as well. However, this varies a lot between SoCs and few are offering quite the comprehensive level of features as Apple and Qualcomm.

The Under Armour True Flash by JBL true wireless workout earbuds on a black surface with a grip strength trainer in the top left corner.

There’s a diverse ecosystem of chips out there

Bluetooth audio SoCs are seldom talked about, partly because headphone product actually ends up determining which features are implemented anyway. The Apple H1 is designed with Apple’s specific vision of Bluetooth earbuds in mind. That’s great in some ways, as it has produced a power-efficient design with a pretty comprehensive list of features. However, the best features are reserved for those who buy into Apple’s broader product ecosystem and it doesn’t support everything that high-end audio consumers may want.

Outside of Apple’s ecosystem, there is a huge range of available products, each sporting different capabilities and price point targets. In terms of packing in everything consumers may want, such as noise cancellation, voice commands, and high-quality codecs, Qualcomm has a very competitive range of products. Although the company perhaps can’t compete on price as well as Apple can with its in-house design team, which appears to be hampering adoption.

The bottom line is that there are definitely competitive SoCs to the Apple H1 out there for Android users. However, very few companies talk about the chip powering their headphones, instead preferring to focus on the end-user features.

NEXT: Android’s Bluetooth latency needs a major overhaul

Apple hit hardest as global smartphone shipments continue to slip

Technology market analyst Canalys reported today that global smartphone shipments decreased from 2018. Apple is the company that was hit hardest by the shrinking market.

According to Canalys, global smartphone shipments fell 6.8 percent in Q1 2019 to 313.9 million. The research firm noted that this is the sixth straight quarter that global smartphone shipments shrank. Interestingly, the top five smartphone manufacturers increased their combined market share from 66.8 percent in Q1 2018 to 72 percent in Q1 2019.

Most companies in the top five felt the shrinking smartphone market. Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi all saw their respective market shares decrease year-over-year, though Samsung and Xiaomi retained their top and fourth spots, respectively.

Global smartphone shipments for Q1 2019 Canalys

Editor’s Pick

Apple saw the greatest decrease in smartphone shipments — 52.2 million in Q1 2018 versus 40.2 million in Q1 2019. Talking with TechCrunch, Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said this was “the largest single-quarter decline in the history of the iPhone.” According to Stanton, China proved to be a tough market as iPhone shipments decreased in the U.S.

The only companies in the top five that came away unscathed were Huawei and Oppo — the latter saw a modest 6.2 percent increase in smartphone shipments. Huawei came out the winner, seeing a dramatic 50.2 percent increase in smartphone shipments. The sharp uptick allowed Huawei to push Apple out of the number two spot.

Huawei’s trek toward the number one spot won’t be easy, however. Samsung launched its revamped Galaxy A and cost-sensitive M-series smartphones to fend off competitors in the low- to mid-range markets. We also can’t count out Xiaomi and Oppo, which are performing well in India and have an increased presence in Europe.

NEXT: Confirmed: Apple, Qualcomm settlement killed Intel’s 5G modem plans

Beats Powerbeats Pro may beat out new AirPods

Apple subsidiary Beats has just announced its debut true wireless earbuds, the Beats Powerbeats Pro. The earbuds sport an in-ear, hooked design that Beats fans will recognize from the Powerbeats 3. Just like it’s traditional wired counterpart, the Powerbeats Pro earbuds are intended for athletes and are sweat-resistant.

Editor’s Pick

As with the new AirPods, these earbuds use a Class 1 Bluetooth technology alongside the new H1 chip. They also boast nine hours of standalone playback time and support quick charging via the included Lightning cable. Beats posits that five minutes of charging affords 1.5 hours of playback. A slight 10-minute bump in charging time brings the earbuds to 4.5 hours of playback.

Physical controls are accessible from either earbud, meaning ambidextrous listeners will feel at home with the identical layout. Beats went a step ahead to deck out the earbuds with optical sensors which allow for the earbuds to automatically play or pause music when they’re inserted or removed.

The company also improved call performance with a speech-detecting accelerometer and two beamforming microphones housed within each earbud. The Beats Powerbeats Pro microphone array helps to lessen background noise, promoting greater voice clarity.

Beats Powerbeats Pro physical controls screenshot from Beats website.

Beats The earbuds feature identical controls for playback and volume.

The angled nozzles and cogent seal formed by the earbuds should result in better sound quality than the new AirPods, but our sister site SoundGuys.com will be sure to test that out as well as other metrics like real-world battery life and frequency response.

In the meantime, the Powerbeats Pro will be available in May via Apple’s online and brick and mortar stores. Listeners have four colorways to choose from, black, ivory, moss, and navy.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Apple News Plus launch means Texture app shuts down on May 28 for Android

Apple

When Apple purchased digital magazine service Texture back in March 2018, it was only a matter of time until Apple would spawn a new service. Lo and behold, Apple announced Apple News Plus earlier this week during its services-focused event.

Unfortunately for Android users and others without Apple devices, Texture announced earlier today that the service will shut down May 28, 2019. Texture users can presumably still use the service in full until then, with existing customers offered a one-month free trial to Apple News Plus.

However, the news must sting for existing Texture users who don’t own a Mac or iOS device. Apple News Plus is only available for Apple devices, which means Android users can’t even try out the new service unless they visit the Apple Store.

Editor’s Pick

Also keep in mind that the one-month free Apple News Plus trial offered to current Texture users is the same deal that all new Apple News Plus subscribers get. Lastly, it’s a bit surprising that there isn’t an Android version of Apple’s new service when the company published and continually updates its Apple Music app on the Google Play Store.

The only silver lining we can see is that Apple News Plus expands on what Texture offers. Apart from magazines, Apple News Plus also provides access to newspapers like The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Toronto Star. It also provides access to online publications like theSkimm, The Highlight by Vox, New York Magazine’s Vulture, and more.

NEXT: Apple unplugs long-delayed AirPower wireless charger

Apple unplugs long-delayed AirPower wireless charger

Apple AirPower

Apple today said it has cancelled plans to release a wireless charger for its iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. The company first revealed AirPower in September 2017 and suggested it would arrive by early 2018. More than 18 months later, the product still hasn’t reached store shelves. Apple has scrapped it.

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, in a statement emailed to TechCrunch. “We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

The charging pad’s absence had become a running joke for the last few months as people have begun to question the product’s legitimacy. A handful of Apple events came and went with no further mention of AirPower.

Editor’s Pick

When first revealed, Apple said the pad would be able to charge two devices simultaneously and deliver the proper charge to each device. The company envisioned that people might charge their iPhone and AirPods on the pad at the same time. The iPhone would also be able to supply real-time information about the charging status of each device.

This isn’t the first time Apple products have failed to launch, or failed to launch on time. The original AirPods were delayed and even once they began shipping initial quantities were strictly limited.

Apple did not provide a specific reason for cancelling AirPower other than its inability to “achieve our high standards.” That’s marketing speak for “we just couldn’t get the darned thing to work.”

Speculation about engineering challenges has run rampant, mostly pertaining to thermal issues. Managing heat is important when imparting electricity to lithium-ion batteries. AirPower was shown alongside the first iPhones to support wireless charging, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

“Apple cancels products before shipping them all the time — but it keeps its entire product development process secret,” noted Avi Greengart, lead analyst at Techsponential to Android Authority. “It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for Apple to announce products long before they ship. It is downright rare for Apple to cancel products that it has announced. So this is definitely not normal operating procedure for Apple. Of course, it is just an accessory, and there are plenty of alternatives that do essentially the same thing, if not as elegantly.”

Other companies have been able to bring similar wireless chargers to market successfully. In August 2018, for example, Samsung released the Wireless Charger Duo, which can handle two phones, or a phone and Galaxy watch at the same time. The Wireless Charger Duo is available online for about $65.

Samsung.com

New report highlights just how much Chinese consumers are ditching Apple

  • A new report highlights Apple’s shrinking smartphone market share in China.
  • Huawei, Xiaomi, and other Chinese manufacturers are growing, gobbling up Apple’s share of the world’s largest market.
  • Apple will need to release cheaper phones with more innovative features if it wants to earn its share back.

There have been plenty of reports over the past year about how Apple’s smartphone ambitions in China aren’t going so well. The Cupertino-based company faces stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers including Huawei and Xiaomi.

However, a new report from Reuters highlights just how much Chinese consumers are moving away from buying iPhones.

According to the report, Apple’s Chinese market share dropped from 81.2 percent to 54.6 percent over the past year in the $500 – $800 pricing category. Meanwhile, Huawei’s market share in that same category jumped from 8.8 percent to 26.6 percent, giving a clear indication of where Apple’s market share is going.

“Most Chinese smartphone buyers are not ready to shell out beyond $1,000 for a phone,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint, referring to the iPhone X line which starts at $1,000 and goes up from there. “This left a gap in the below-$800 segment which Chinese vendors grabbed with both hands.”

Editor’s Pick

It’s not just pricing, though (although even Apple admits that’s a part of it). According to members of the Chinese retail industry, iPhones don’t have the features Chinese consumers want, specifically when it comes to the camera. Even the highest-end iPhone only has two lenses on the rear, for example, and Chinese citizens are flocking to phones with three or more lenses, such as the Huawei P20 Pro and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

He Fan, CEO of Huishoubao, which buys and resells used phones, said, “Huawei’s cameras have become noticeably better than Apple’s in that they suit the tastes of Chinese consumers more.” Fan said that he has seen a shift in the retail market from Apple to Huawei over the past year.

With Apple’s iPhone sales dropping not just in China but worldwide, industry players are starting to feel the heat. A separate Reuters report highlights how Japan Display — one of the world’s top vendors of LCD displays — has factories running at half-capacity due to the low sales of LCD-powered iPhones, such as the iPhone XR.

In order to turn the tide, Apple will need to embrace the Chinese market’s two main focuses: aggressively-priced devices that offer new and innovative features, especially when related to the camera. Otherwise, Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers will eventually boot Apple out of the world’s largest smartphone market.

NEXT: Jury says Apple violated three Qualcomm patents, should pay $31 million

No Intel 5G modems until 2020, so iPhone might be a year behind Android

According to a new report from Reuters, chipmaker Intel will not release a 5G smartphone modem in a consumer-level device until 2020. This information comes directly from Intel, via a recent media event in California.

Apple uses Intel modems exclusively in the most recent crop of iPhones — the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR. If Apple is planning to use an Intel modem in its eventual 5G iPhone, that means we won’t see that device until 2020.

This would put Apple at least a year behind Android when it comes to 5G smartphones. If the 5G iPhone launches in September next year — the usual month of new iPhone launches — it would be close to 18 months behind.

Granted, there are multiple ways Apple could avoid this. The most obvious is for the company to not use an Intel modem in a 5G iPhone. However, since Qualcomm refused to provide chips for the latest round of iPhones due to the ongoing legal battles between the two companies, that doesn’t leave Apple many viable options of where to turn.

Editor’s Pick

There is also the possibility that Apple could create its own 5G modem. However, that seems unlikely because we only just recently heard rumors about Apple taking in-house modem development more seriously.

Whatever the case, 5G Android phones are going to start coming at a relentless pace, starting in only a few days at Mobile World Congress. By the middle of this year, almost every major device manufacturer will have released or revealed its 5G smartphone.

It would be very strange if Apple didn’t release its own 5G iPhone until a year after this Android deluge.

Intel did clarify that it will have commercial-grade 5G products deployed before the end of this year, but no consumer-level products.

NEXT: Want an Apple laptop? These are the best and cheapest you can buy