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New notification process starts Monday for Iowa jurors

DES MOINES — The Iowa Judicial Branch launched a new notification process Monday for jurors, which will make it more simple and convenient for citizens to serve.

Prospective jurors in Iowa will no longer receive a paper juror questionnaire in the mail with a summons to report for jury duty, state court officials announced. Instead, they will now receive a post card with information on how to complete the questionnaire online.

The new process is part of the recommendations made in the March 2018 Iowa Supreme Court Committee on Jury Selection report. The Committee on Jury Selection recommended that the state court administrator’s office should develop a new process for notifying jurors of their duty to serve and create a jury portal on the website, which should include an e-juror questionnaire and information about jury duty.

Each postcard will be specific to the county where residents live and include the website address for the online questionnaire, the address of the courthouse with a small map, a juror number, the service start date, the term of service, and the juror badge, according to officials.

The updated online questionnaire, “eJuror,” will include a section for jurors to enter a cellphone number or email address for notification by text message or email three days before the jury service start date and again 24 hours before the start date. A prospective juror can reschedule his or her service date online, one time.

“This will simplify the process and make it more convenient for citizens summoned for jury service,” State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio said in a statement. “We anticipate a better response rate because people can easily complete the juror questionnaire on their phones or at their home computer 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. We plan to look at the utilization rate after the launch to see if the new process has improved the response.”

Along with the new juror notification process, there is also a new jury service page added to its website. The page includes a link to the online juror questionnaire along with an overview of jury service, answers to frequently asked questions, directions on how to complete the online questionnaire, what to expect during a trial, a link to a short video on the history of jury service, and information on how to identify and avoid jury scams.

A portion of the frequently asked questions section explains how citizens are selected for jury service and includes a link to the master list of names in the jury pool. The judicial branch compiles lists of licensed drivers, state identification card holders, and registered voters residing in each county to create the Master Jury List. .

The judicial branch website also has individual pages with juror information for each county. The county-specific pages include contact information, what to wear to court, where to park, and jury check-in information.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

Soybean prices rally on U.S.-China trade meeting, but details slim

Farmers across Eastern Iowa and the United States woke up Monday to a rally in soybean prices in the wake of a highly watched meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But it’s not clear if an announced halt on tariffs will revive grain trade between the two major economies.

Bloomberg’s generic soybean futures price broke $9 per bushel at the start of trading Monday, the first time since June, on news that Trump and Xi had agreed after meeting at the G-20 Summit in Argentina over the weekend to halt new tariffs on each other’s countries and hold trade discussions over the next 90 days.

The generic price closed at $9.05 per bushel at the Chicago Board of Exchange.

The White House said Beijing agreed to start purchasing a “not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other product from the United States” immediately.

Corn prices also rose to close at $3.82 per bushel Monday, buoyed by the rise in soybean prices.

That could provide some relief to U.S. farmers who have stockpiled the most soybeans in a decade — some 87.9 million bushels — in their bins and grain elevators. The bet is that a reprieve in trade tensions would boost prices held down by disappearing demand from China, which imports 60 percent of soybeans traded worldwide.

Soybean prices have jumped on hints from Trump on trade policy before. On Nov. 1, Trump tweeted that he had “a long and very good conversation” with Xi focused heavily on trade, and generic soybean prices closed the day at $8.82, a 31-cent increase.

About two weeks later, he told reporters there may not be more tariffs on China, resulting in a 24-cent price spike.

But Chinese buyers have yet to resume purchasing U.S. soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported no weekly exports for the week ending Nov. 22 this year, compared to 1.7 million metric tons exported that same week last year.

Jim Nemitz, president of Midwest Strategic Investments in Hiawatha, said farmers and commodity traders have clung to any news signaling a softening in the trade dispute. While the outcome of the G-20 meeting in Argentina inspired optimism from those groups, Nemitz said that has yet to translate into Chinese buyers resuming business with the United States.

“It’s a buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact type of deal,” he said. “Now we just need to get some buying, get some facts out here and some sales on the books instead of all the lip service so far.”

The Monday rally also doesn’t bring soybean prices back to the $10 per bushel mark, which is generally accepted as the break-even point for the crop.

Kirk Leeds, chief executive officer of the Iowa Soybean Association, said any positive developments are helpful for farmers. But the lack of specifics on how much agricultural product China will buy makes it difficult for soybean prices to climb higher, he said.

That, combined with logistical issues in restarting shipments to China and the glut of soybeans already on the market, will lead farmers to reduce how much soybean acreage they plant next year.

“Nine dollars doesn’t pay the bills,” he said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; dan.mika@thegazette.com

After months of uncertainty, University of Iowa picks dean for largest college

IOWA CITY — After spending more than two years in a state of leadership limbo and impermanence, the University of Iowa’s largest college will receive a new dean next summer.

Steve Goddard, University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior associate to the executive vice chancellor, will take the helm of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on June 1, succeeding interim dean Joseph Kearney. Kearney, UI Department of Computer Science professor, has been in the interim role since the college’s former head Chaden Djalali left campus July 31.

Djalali in May was named provost at Ohio University, with an Aug. 1 start date. But he’d been planning to go for a while, announcing back in March 2017 that he would leave Iowa in 16 months — on July 1, 2018. In announcing his resignation more than a year ago, Djalali cited both personal issues and changes facing the college.

For much of the year-plus that followed, Djalali was in the job hunt as a top finalist for provost positions nationwide — including at the universities of Illinois, Cincinnati, Connecticut and Texas, according to a review by The Gazette.

He earned a $348,317 salary in his last year. And, although he and UI officials announced his last day would be June 30, the university extended Djalali’s contract through the end of July — paying him $26,123.77 for just that month as a visiting professor in the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Goddard, who the Board of Regents still must approve, will earn an annual salary of $372,000. He’ll oversee the largest of the university’s 11 colleges, which contains 37 departments spanning visual, performing, literary and cinematic arts; humanities; natural and mathematic sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines.

More than 16,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this fall — accounting for about 68 percent of total UI undergraduates. The college boasting the next largest enrollment is the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, with 3,148 undergraduates.

The UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also enrolls the most graduate students, with 1,914 this fall — or about 33 percent of the graduate student total. About 600 tenured and tenure-track faculty teach or research under the UI liberal arts and sciences banner.

The popular college’s students can choose from 69 undergraduate majors, more than 70 minors, and more than 20 interdisciplinary certificate programs. Several programs sit among the top 25 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings, including its Nonfiction Writing Program, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Speech-Language Pathology department, all of which rank No. 1.

Faculty in the sprawling college last year feared administrators were posturing to break it up following a sweeping “academic organizational” review. The review aimed to help UI “become a more forward-looking, nimble university that focuses our limited resources in support of academic excellence.”

A first-phase report criticized over-large and disparate academic units. A report from a second phase in the review — including recommendations and implementation strategies — was expected in the spring, but UI officials said finalizing it has taken longer than expected. On Monday, they told The Gazette they aim to release the report later this week.

In a statement following his appointment, Goddard called the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences “a tremendous resource for the people of Iowa.”

“I am excited to work with the amazing students, faculty, and staff of the college, as well as alumni and community partners, to build on its strong legacy,” he said.

At Nebraska, Goddard also serves as chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and computer science and engineering professor. Through his research — including into embedded, real-time, and distributed computer systems — Goddard has had a hand in more than 100 articles and 10 patent applications.

Touted as an expert in computer systems and patent litigation, he’s received more than $22 million in research support from the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

UI President Bruce Harreld has pushed the university’s focus to increase external funding of late by bringing in more elite faculty who come with research dollars — as the university is struggling with floundering state support.

While at UNL, Goddard served as associate vice chancellor for research and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Steve brings a foundational commitment to liberal arts and sciences as a cornerstone of higher education along with an engaged and inclusive leadership style,” Interim Provost Sue Curry said in a statement. “With new leadership, the college is poised for continued innovation and growth in education, scholarship, and engagement.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

Operation Quickfind: Marshawn Jackson

An Operation Quickfind has been issued for 15-year-old Marshawn Rome Jackson.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department is looking for information about Jackson after he was last seen at 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 29 at 2025 Rosewood Drive NW.

According to the Quickfind document, Jackson is described as being a black male, 5 foot, six inches in height and weighing 120 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and tan jogger pants.

Anyone with information regarding Jackson or his whereabouts should call the Cedar Rapids Police at (319) 286-5491.

All About the Stitch Custom Embroidery started as a hobby

Allyson Bird, owner of All About the Stitch Custom Embroidery, believes there’s not much that makes a gift more special than having it personalized.

“When giving gifts to my nieces and nephews who lived far away, my husband always wanted to give them money, but I wanted to give a personalized touch to it,” she said.

So when Bird got a new sewing machine in 2012 with embroidery capabilities, she got creative.

“This is really something that came from a hobby,” she said of All About the Stitch. “Little by little, I went from doing gifts for my family, to doing gifts for friends and people we knew through school.

“It just kind of grew from there.”

Today, using a commercial embroidery machine, Bird embroiders a variety of items, but has a few in particular that have become very popular gifts.

“I make wine totes with funny sayings, and those have really become a niche,” she said.

Wristlets, market totes and stuffed animals with birth information embroidered on them also are popular products.

“I’m all about the wow factor. I love being able to give my customers that same feeling I had years ago. They want to wow someone and make a gift really special,” she said, noting she loves to work with grandparents, aunt and uncles.

Bird does not have her own store front, but relies on her website and Facebook traffic to promote her products as well as local markets and craft fairs.

Cedar Rapids cardboard box manufacturer KapStone purchased by Atlanta-based WestRock Co.

A northeast Cedar Rapids cardboard box manufacturer has announced it has its third owner in the past five years.

KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. has been purchased by WestRock Co. of Atlanta for $4.6 billion.

The deal, completed Nov. 2, includes KapStone’s plant at 1601 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, one of 22 converting facilities operated by the Northbrook, Ill., producer of containerboard, kraft paper and corrugated products.

KapStone, which also owns four paper mills and 60 distribution centers, employs about 6,400.

The Cedar Rapids plant previously was owned by Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging of Longview, Wash. KapStone bought Longview Fibre in July 2013 for $1.025 billion.

The 116,440-sqaure-foot Cedar Rapids plant was built in 1956 and operated for many years by Longview Fibre.

WestRock produces an assortment of paper and packaging solutions from about 300 operating and business locations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and employs about 45,000.

In a news release announcing completion of the purchase, WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees said the acquisition of KapStone will strengthen WestRock’s presence on the West Coast and broaden its portfolio of differentiated paper and packaging solutions.

Voorhees said WestRock expects to achieve approximately $200 million in synergies and performance improvements by the end of fiscal 2021 through the integration of the former KapStone operations into WestRock’s corrugated business.

Rustic Chic Boutique reworks an existing business

CEDAR RAPIDS — Amanda Doty and Leah Johnson first met about eight years ago when they took jobs at Yellowbook in Cedar Rapids. After a short time, both moved on to new endeavors, but their friendship endured.

“We got each other out of it,” Johnson said.

This past April, Doty approached Sandra Rinderknecht, owner of the Enchanted Gift, to see if a custom wood engraving company Doty worked for could become a vendor at Rinderknecht’s downtown Cedar Rapids gift shop.

“The first day she met me, she said, ‘Why don’t you have your own business?’” Doty recalled.

In June, Rinderknecht mentioned to Doty that she intended to relocate to North Carolina. In September, she asked if Doty would be willing to purchase the business from her.

“A couple hours later, I had convinced Leah that we should do it together,” Doty said. “I told her we could do so many fun things with the store.”

The transition of the business to the new owners happened Nov. 1, along with a new name — Rustic Chic Boutique.

“We wanted a name that expressed more of what we’d be doing,” Johnson said.

The 4,200-square-foot store offers a wide array of gift items, greeting cards, home decor, jewelry and repurposed and refurbished furniture.

The store’s inventory includes the work of at least a dozen artisans and craftspeople who rent space to sell their handmade goods.

Nine of those vendors are new since the store changed hands, and the owners are seeking more.

“We’re trying not to have duplicates to avoid competition,” Doty noted.

To fit the “rustic” aesthetic, Doty and Johnson installed wood pallet divider walls that separate and define the individual vendor spaces and provide more options for vendors to display their goods.

Rent starts at $20 per month, depending on the size of the space, and vendors keep all proceeds from their sales.

“They don’t have to haul their stuff to a craft show every weekend — they just restock as needed,” Johnson said.

The new owners said one of the things that most appealed to them about the business was the store’s central downtown location with access from the skywalk.

To take advantage of downtown foot traffic during the workweek, they expanded store hours and are now open Monday through Friday, with some weekend hours.

Doty and Johnson staff the store themselves, although they said that may change going forward.

“Being friends and owning a business together is all well and good,” Johnson said. “Until we want to go do something together.”

l Know a business that’s been operation for less than a year that would make for a nifty “Ground Floor” feature? Let us know at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a Glance

l Owners: Amanda Doty and Leah Johnson

l Business: Rustic Chic Boutique

l Address: 207 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

l Phone: (319) 200-4298

l Email: shoprcbcr@gmail.com

l Facebook: www.facebook.com/rcbcriowa

Poll: Trump approval up but re-election support weaker

President Donald Trump’s job approval numbers are up, but a Grinnell College National Poll released Monday suggests support for his re-election is not on the same trajectory.

The GOP president’s approval numbers have risen since the midterm election that saw Republicans make gains in the U.S. Senate but lost control of the U.S. House to Democrats.

His job approval rating bumped up from 39 to 43 percent between mid-September and mid-November, according to the Grinnell poll of 1,000 U.S. adults from Nov. 24-27. The poll, conducted by calling randomly selected with landlines and cellphones, has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Grinnell political-science Professor Peter Hanson attributes the higher approval ratings to increased support from independents.

However, that’s where the good news for the president stops at least for now because “even a majority of those who are happy with his performance aren’t convinced he deserves a second term,” according to Hanson. Only 32 percent of those polled said they would definitely vote to re-elect Trump. Among likely 2020 voters in rural communities, where the president received his highest marks demographically, 51 percent said they would definitely vote to re-elect.

“The 2016 election appears to have convinced the president that he can win only by appealing to his base,” Hanson said. “That’s a miscalculation that cost the Republicans the House in 2018. The question for Republicans now is whether they can expand their coalition beyond this narrow base of support to be competitive again in 2020.”

“This is the kind of poll that makes Republicans nervous and Democrats optimistic,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer.

That’s because it appears there are cracks in the president’s base. For instance, 71 percent of white men without college degrees voted for Trump in 2016, according to the exit polls. Today, only 49 percent of that demographic would definitely vote to re-elect him, according to the poll. Among likely 2020 voters he also falls short of a 50 percent majority of white men (43 percent), white men and women without a college degree (46 percent) and evangelicals (47 percent).

“Even when incumbents do not hit the 50 percent mark with the electorate saying they would definitely vote to re-elect, they would be looking for demographic pockets of strength where they carry the day,” Selzer said. “President Trump has one pocket only — voters who live in rural areas. He falls short with men, whites, those without a college education — groups that handed him the win in 2016.”

Voters, even among those groups that supported Trump two years ago, are feeling good about the economy, which usually is a good sign for incumbents.

The Grinnell-Selzer poll showed two out of three respondents are feeling better about their personal financial futures. Sixty-four percent say they are moving closer to their hopes for their personal finances, while just 26 percent feel like they are moving farther away.

Hanson notes that the dichotomy between voters feeling positive and confident, yet unwilling to commit to vote for Trump in 2020, is surprising.

“Historically, presidents who preside over periods of economic growth are popular and win re-election,” Hanson said. “President Trump’s low approval and dismal re-election numbers are a break from the past and may suggest that his combative style is harming his chance to win again in 2020.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

Linn-Mar graduate continues political activities at Harvard

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Linn-Mar High School graduate who was the youngest delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention hasn’t put her political life on hold while attending college.

After serving two years on the board of College Democrats, Sruthi Palaniappan now is president of the Undergraduate Council at Harvard University, where she is a junior with concentrations government and education.

Even before being inaugurated Sunday, Palaniappan was meeting with Harvard administrators to address some of the same issues she and her running mate, Julia Huesa, ran on in November.

“This morning, we were dealing a university president, stressing the cultural climate that exists in the school,” the 21-year-old Palaniappan said last week. “A lot of us have been thinking about the allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding professors and teaching fellows and their interactions with students. It’s a major concern in the university. Me and my vice president think it’s a really important issue.”

Palaniappan, a 2016 Linn-Mar graduate, was the council’s education chairwoman, organized student town halls as well as student-faculty dinners to increase communication on campus and participated in efforts to establish a multicultural center on campus.

A focus of her campaign was “supporting students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds at the school,” said Palaniappan, whose parents, Saradha and Palaniappan Andiappan, emigrated from India.

“A lot of people agree that a school like Harvard was not made for students from all backgrounds when it was first created,” she said. “I think there is a lot to be done when you think about people of color, first-generation college students and students from low-income backgrounds.”

She wants to concentrate on programming and policies to best advance their interests as well.

Palaniappan sees her new role as a way to have a “really meaningful way to impact change on campus.”

“Having my experience on the council the past two years, I can see us making tangible differences,” she said. “I see student government as a really effective way to affect other people’s lives, to get administrators to think intentionally and making decisions with a much better understanding of the reality of what students are facing on campus.”

Palaniappan has been “kind of nudged” to be less involved in her other activities to devote as much time and energy to student government as possible.

“It will be time-consuming,” she said. Previous undergraduate council officers have told her “it’s basically a full-time job and you’re doing classes in addition.”

She hopes to continue teaching civic engagement lessons to Boston fifth-graders and plans to choreograph a Bollywood dance in the spring.

Palaniappan also hopes to stay involved in Iowa Democratic politics when she’s home over the summer and after graduation in 2020.

She was “heavily focused” on the midterm elections and is looking forward to the 2020 presidential election. Palaniappan isn’t backing any particular candidate at this time.

“There’s a lot of discussion of potential people and it will be interesting to see who gets to Iowa,” Palaniappan said, adding, “It’s a very cool moment to tell people here what’s happening in Iowa. One of the first things they ask is, ‘What are the caucuses are like?’”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

Mississippi River counties go with the electoral flow

Folks who live along the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois and southern Wisconsin have a serious independent voting streak.

That was established in 2016 with the region’s wealth of Obama-Trump counties — counties that voted for Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012 and Republican President Donald Trump in 2016.

The area kept swinging in the recent 2018 midterm elections. After going for Trump, the region’s three congressional races all went to Democrats.

And the two Democratic congressional incumbents in the region outperformed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by some of the largest margins in the country, according to data compiled by the Cook Political Report.

In Iowa, Democrat Abby Finkenauer unseated two-term Republican Rod Blum in the 2018 midterm election in Iowa’s 1st District, which spans the northeast corner of the state, including four Mississippi River counties: Allamakee, Clayton, Dubuque and Jackson.

Finkenauer won by 5 percentage points in the district that Trump in 2016 won by 4 points.

And covering the rest of Iowa’s Mississippi River counties — Clinton, Scott, Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines and Lee — through the state’s southeast corner, 2nd District Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack won re-election this year by 12 percentage points.

In 2016, Trump won the district by 4 points.

Those Trump-to-congressional-Democrat swings — 9 points in the 1st District and 16 in the 2nd — once again show the independent nature and pendulum-like recent voting history of the region. How those districts vote in the 2020 presidential election likely will figure prominently in who wins the state.

But those swings were nothing like what happened on the other side of the river.

Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos in northwest Illinois and Ron Kind in southwest Wisconsin both improved upon Clinton’s 2016 margins by 24 percentage points. Only five congressional candidates in the country improved upon Clinton’s 2016 numbers by bigger margins, according to data compiled by Dave Wasserman, an editor for the Cook Political Report.

Like Loebsack, Bustos and Kind had the power of incumbency behind their efforts. (And Bustos had a pretty weak opponent.) But their performances, combined with their Democratic colleagues’ across the river, showed again how people who live along the Mississippi River in this area of the country are true swing voters.

In case you’re curious, the biggest Clinton 2016-to-2018-congressional-Democrat swing was in West Virginia’s 3rd District. And yet even with his 37-point swing, Democrat Richard Ojeda still lost his election bid by almost 14 points.

Reynolds elected to RGA post

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds last week was elected to the Republican Governors Association’s executive committee.

The RGA held elections at its meetings last week in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was elected chairman and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vice chairman.

Reynolds, who last month was elected to a full four-year term after ascending to the office in 2017, was one of seven Republican governors elected to the RGA’s executive committee.

The RGA donated more than $6 million to Reynolds’ 2018 campaign, according to state campaign finance records.

The RGA’s executive committee makes political strategy decisions, approves spending and recruits candidates to run for governor, according to Reynolds’ campaign.

“I am humbled by the support of my fellow Republican governors, and I believe this position is a reflection of the positive things we are doing in Iowa,” Reynolds said in a statement released by her campaign. “The RGA was instrumental in my election, and I look forward to playing a role in helping to elect Republican governors around the country.”

The RGA terms are for one year.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy.

Apple will wait until at least 2020 to release a 5G iPhone

Apple plans to hold off until at least 2020 before offering an iPhone that can connect to the next generation of high-speed phone services coming next year, according to people familiar with its plans.

The delay may make it easier for rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. to win over consumers to phones that connect to 5G networks, which will provide a leap forward in mobile data speeds when they are introduced in 2019.

As with 3G and 4G, the two previous generations of mobile technology, Apple will wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of the new networks before its main product gets the capability to access them, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the company’s plans.

Apple’s previous calculations — proven correct — were that the new networks and the first versions of rival smartphones would come with problems such as spotty coverage, making consumers less compelled to immediately make the jump. This time, 5G boosters argue the switch is a much bigger speed upgrade, making Apple’s decision to wait riskier. The networks will open the floodgates to new types of mobile computing, 5G advocates say.

The decision to sit on the sidelines may be related to the company’s feud with Qualcomm Inc., the leader in 5G-enabled chips, and its alliance instead with Intel Corp., which won’t have chips available in time to support 2019 phones.

Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In the past, it hasn’t been a problem for the Cupertino, California-based company to wait a year after much of its competition to release phones compatible with the latest wireless networks. The original iPhone in 2007 was so far ahead of rivals that its slower connection, known as 2G EDGE, wasn’t a deal breaker for early adopters. Even the iPhone 4S with its flashy features like a stainless steel frame and the promise of Siri were enough for some to ignore its lack of true 4G LTE speeds.

But going into 2019, the stakes have changed: the leap from 4G to 5G is significant enough that it may become a major selling point for new devices. Samsung plans to have 5G phones in its Galaxy range next year. And in China — the largest market for smartphones — major producers Oppo and Huawei Technologies Co. also have indicated they plan to offer 5G phones.

“Apple has always been a laggard in cellular technology,” said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “They weren’t impacted in the past, but 5G is going to be much easier to market. But if they wait beyond 2020, then I think they’ll be impacted.”

Apple also is under more pressure to keep its iPhone customer base. The company has lost a fifth of its value the past two months amid a tech stock rout and reports of suppliers cutting forecasts, signaling the new models introduced in September aren’t selling as well as anticipated. While the global smartphone market has declined for four consecutive quarters, according to industry analyst IDC, the iPhone accounts for almost 60 percent of Apple’s revenue and is the foundation of the company’s push for sales in consumer services such as music, video and cloud storage.

Wireless carriers like Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. are likely to prioritize the marketing of 5G phones in order to get customers to migrate over as soon as possible. The new networks will take advantage of a greater range of radio frequencies and be capable of carrying much higher-speed data. That provides an incentive to move traffic to the speedier networks because it will lower the costs for the wireless carriers. Think of the difference in the number of cars a multi-lane freeway can accommodate versus a single-lane regular road.

To be sure, for some existing Apple customers, the lack of 5G connectivity next year won’t be a deterrent. A portion of consumers upgrade their current iPhones to the new models regardless of the changes to the device. Given that hardware upgrade cycles are slowing overall, a 2020 launch for 5G could create a super cycle of upgrades from iPhone users who would still be using an iPhone X or XS two years from now.

Since 2011, Apple has debuted all major new iPhone models in either September or October. The company, however, has released mid-cycle updates like the Verizon iPhone 4 in February 2011, geared toward specific networks. It also launched a smaller model, the iPhone SE, in March 2016.

Huawei and Samsung can build 5G modems — not just Intel and Qualcomm. But Apple is unlikely to use chips from competitors, and the companies may also struggle to produce enough supply for the iPhone’s huge volumes — more than 200 million a year.

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