Apple’s supposedly opted to stay out of the 5G hype with its new iPhones this year, but has yet to completely figure out if it will be able to execute on the new technology in 2020. And according to one investment house, the figuring is far from finished.

Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay wrote in a note, obtained by Bloomberg, that Cupertino’s four choices and an ‘X’ factor for 5G modems in 2020 aren’t particularly looking good.

The mainstream option at this point would be for Apple to use Intel’s solution. After all, it has been relying on the company’s modems to some extent in the past few years. Apple has also been accused of chipping code over to Intel from competing supplier Qualcomm to help its development along. But even with all that help, it may be that it won’t have crucial support for millimeter wave spectrum with its 2020 product.

Apple could buy out Intel’s modem business as a long-term investment, but that’s not seen as any help to making 5G possible for the iPhone by next year.

Ramsay said that Samsung would drive a hard deal for its modems while MediaTek is still running a bit slow in the race. Huawei is not being considered.

“Our industry contacts at MWC remained as surprised as we are that Apple is in this situation,” Ramsay wrote.

The ‘X’ factor? Perhaps Apple and Qualcomm make up from their many legal disputes and re-establish a healthy supply relationship. But the analyst dismisses that as a salve to the situation: “Might it be too late already?”

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