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Photo: Apple

All four major U.S. carriers are staking their claim to being first to 5G. Globally, the race is equally intense with Korea, China, Japan and the U.S. all trying to lead the pack.

Buzz: One mobile giant that's unlikely to be first to 5G is Apple. Historically, the company aims to be seen as an innovator in lots of areas, but with both 3G and 4G, Apple was at least a year behind some rivals.

Here are three big reasons why:

1. Battery

Typically the first phones on a new wireless standard have terrible battery life, in part because they are supporting new kinds of radios and relying on first-generation chips that haven't been optimized for power.

2. Compatibility

Apple typically likes to have as few models of the iPhone as possible. A new flavor of wireless typically means lots of different bands of spectrum and requires a lot of custom work for each network.

3. Independence

Apple has spent the last couple of years trying to be less dependent on Qualcomm for modem chips. Already it's opting to give up certain features in order to be able to allow the iPhone to use either Intel or Qualcomm chips. Supporting 5G out of the gate would risk making Apple more dependent again on its chip suppliers.

The bottom line: While this would make lots of sense for Apple, choosing to wait a bit on 5G could open the door for rivals, including Samsung, that are likely to aggressively adopt the new technology.

Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in midterms.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Germany tells Congress Nord Stream 2 sanctions would be "victory for Putin"

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The benefits of giving cash directly on Giving Tuesday

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Direct cash giving — channeling donations to charities that dispense money, rather than goods or services — is emerging as the gold standard in anti-poverty philanthropy.

Why it matters: Giving Tuesday is this week, and the money donated that day can do the most good when it goes as directly as possible to those in the most need.