While major Android gadget makers crowed about plans to roll out 5G phones this year, Apple stayed mum.
In fact, not only was Apple going to miss getting 5G iPhones out this year, experts were also saying the company wouldn't hit a 2020 target.
Apple was seeing its iPhone falling way behind competitors — and all because of a tiny chip.
Apple and Qualcomm make nice
Apple found itself in this quandary because 2 years ago it filed a multimillion dollar patent lawsuit against Qualcomm over royalties. Qualcomm countered with its own lawsuit against Apple.
Here's where Apple's plan to get an iPhone 5G onto the market began crumbling. Qualcomm makes the 5G chips Apple needs for iPhones.
In a bid to tell Qualcomm to get lost, Apple began working with Intel to create the crucial chip. The courtroom showdown between Apple and Qualcomm was on.
But on April 16, during opening statements, the two sides surprised industry watchers by abruptly coming to an agreement and dropping all litigation. Suddenly, Qualcomm and Apple were back in business.
A few hours after the agreement was announced, Intel said it was exiting the 5G smartphone chip market. The company had failed to make the chip Apple so desperately needed.
No doubt Apple executives already knew this and finding themselves with no options, Apple decided to be the first to blink. Now, Qualcomm and Apple are making nice again.
For iPhone devotees this agreement means 5G handsets are in the foreseeable future. Industry experts say it's unlikely Apple will be able to get 5G iPhones out this year, when other Android makers plan to roll out their 5Gs.
The earliest Apple will probably be able to get the 5Gs out is sometime in 2020. But don't feel too bad iPhone lovers.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will be selling 5G phones this year, but they are only doing it in select cities. And even if you live in one of those select cities, coverage will be patchy.
Despite the slow rollout, here's why people are so excited about 5G. If you enjoy streaming, or gaming online from wireless networks, the expansion of bandwidth is a huge deal.
It will also bring improvements to speed, coverage and reliability because 5G uses different kinds of radio spectrum frequencies and antennas. This allows the network to connect to many more devices while reducing delays and performing at ultrafast speeds.
Frequencies are different, too, with 4G using below 6GHz, whereas 5G uses extremely high frequencies between the 30GHz to 300GHz ranges. Speeds are also different with 4G minimum download peak sitting at 1Gbps and 5G using 20Gbps.
Other contrasts between 5G and 4G are that 5G networks can more readily recognize the kind of data being requested. It can also switch into a lower power mode while not in use and when providing low rates to particular media, but then shift to a higher powered mode for things such as HD streaming.
Cord cutters, you could be fined by the FCC if you're doing this
In today's video ecosystem, users have a plethora of choices for streaming devices. Some users, though, truly want it all. Unlimited movies, a wider selection of titles, and a slimmer price tag can be found on certain streaming devices if you know where to look. Here's the catch: most of these gadgets are bootlegs. And thanks to a recent FCC advisory, using them for streaming might land you in hot water.