Apple hasn't been the "first" to do anything in years, especially when it comes to mobile phone innovation, and that includes not being the first to roll out 5G-capable devices — Intel, supposedly the supplier of 5G modems for iPhones, has bowed out of that arena entirely, leaving Apple without a definite supplier.
Which is why rumors of a 5G iPad Pro potentially coming out in a few years come as a surprise — there's not even a 5G-capable iPhone yet, and now there's already talk of iPad Pros?
New iPad Pros
Still, the report comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, perhaps the most trusted Apple analyst there is. He claims Apple will start mass-producing new iPad Pros sometime between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, as Apple Insider reports.
Kuo adds that the new iPad Pro models will feature 11-inch and 12.9-inch displays, similar to current iPad Pros. The report implies that these new models won't look aesthetically different to current-generation models, but it does mention that all the new things will be underneath. Among them would be the use of a "high-priced LCP soft board," as UDN reports. LCP soft board are soft, flexible board that can be used as an alternative to rigid, inflexible PCBs.
The Purpose Of Switching To LCP Soft Boards
By switching to LCP soft boards, Apple will future-proof iPad Pros for high-speed connectivity. Apple engineers will be able to connect the antenna to the motherboard directly, improving overall network performance and reducing signal loss.
LCP soft boards will also be useful in preparing forthcoming iPad Pros for 5G technology. Apple is expected to roll out 5G-capable iPad Pro models by 2021, which will have LCP soft boards along with 5G baseband chips inside.
Current iPad Pro 4G LTE models allow users to insert a SIM card and use 4G internet in places where there's no Wi-Fi.
Apple's 5G plans had looked rather tentative as Intel continued to stumble forth with delays, but the Cupertino brand has since parted ways with the chipmaker. It has also settled its years-long legal dispute with Qualcomm with undisclosed agreements. It's not clear if Qualcomm will supply 5G modems for future iPhones. Huawei, meanwhile, announced recently that it's willing to sell 5G components, but only to Apple.
Take everything above with a grain of salt, as they're still rumors. Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.