iPhone 12 has 5G, but we’re still not sure if we even need it

iPhone 12 has 5G, but we’re still not sure if we even need it

Tim Cook Apple 5G

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about the new 5G connectivity of the iPhone 12 on Tuesday.


This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple gave plenty to users last week Reasons for a New iPhone 12like it does every year. The camera is better, and So is the processor. The display with his “Ceramic Shield” technologyis more durable and there is even one Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro. There are now four new models instead of choosing three, and the The entire phone has been redesigned For the first time since 2017. Oh, and have you heard? All phones in the iPhone 12 series are also equipped with 5G.

The next generation of cellular technology was in the foreground Apple’s virtual iPhone boot Last Tuesday. Apple showed us its secret, padded anechoic chamber, which tests 5G radio waves and explains the improvements it has made to extend the battery life of its 5G iPhones. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg was even hired to launch the carrier’s nationwide 5G low-band network. (He kept his distance from Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage.)

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But Apple, like essentially everyone else in the wireless industry, still didn’t actually give us a reason to need 5G in our phones right now, even in the $699 iPhone 12 Mini, $799 iPhone 12, $999 iPhone 12 Pro and $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max. It kept the pricing steady for its two highest-end devices but increased the iPhone 12’s cost by $100 over last year’s iPhone 11. For that same starting price, users now get a device with a smaller display — 5.4 inches in the Mini instead of the iPhone 11’s 6.1 inches. 

This all goes back to a broader problem the wireless industry has wrestled with since the debut of 5G nearly two years ago. Sure, there’s a boost in speed with 5G, but the increase most consumers are seeing now isn’t significant enough to really matter (and in some cases, 5G connections are no faster than 4G). Carriers have greatly expanded their networks, but the quality of service varies dramatically based on where you live. And with the novel coronavirus locking many of us down in our homes, the idea of higher speed on the go is irrelevant. Ultimately, 5G is expected to be a game-changer, but for many consumers right now, it’s just an extra cost.

“There’s no killer app for why you need to upgrade to 5G beyond it’s just faster than 4G,” said Logan Purk, an equity analyst with Edward Jones. “For the average consumer, that’s not a strong enough selling point to move into these higher-priced handsets and pay up for that technology.” 

For now, everyone continues to focus on speed. As Cook noted Tuesday, 5G “will bring a new level of performance for downloads and uploads, higher-quality video streaming, more responsive gaming [and] Real-time interactivity. “He added that it improves security and privacy as users can use 5G networks instead of public Wi-Fi connections.

“Today is the beginning of a new era for the iPhone,” said Cook during his keynote speech. “This is a great moment for all of us.”

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For many people, the fact that Apple has new iPhones in the first place is reason enough to buy them. The company, perhaps more than any other on the planet, has a base of loyal fans who upgrade every year. But it’s the rest of us who hold onto our phones for three years to woo the Apple.

It is likely that consumers looking for 5G phones will “future proof” their purchase. 5G may not be everywhere right now, but it will be common when people are ready for their next device. While the first 5G phones were limited by the networks they could access, the newer 5G modems enable unlocked phones and take advantage of all kinds of technology.

If you bought a 5G phone last year, “you weren’t future-proof,” said Carolina Milanesi, creative strategy analyst. “But now you can buy 5G with confidence.”

5G, ready or not

The entire iPhone 12 range has a new design that is reminiscent of Apple’s iPad Pro tablets. The flatter sides give the iPhones a new feel for the first time in three years. All models feature a new, extremely powerful, Corning-designed display on the front, known as a “ceramic shield”. It’s “harder than any smartphone glass,” Apple said, and it’s four times less likely to break if you drop it. The new phones are equipped with Apple’s updated A14 Bionic, the same chip as in the new iPad Air. They also get bumps in their camera functions.

None of the new iPhone 12 models are coming without 5G connectivity whether or not you have a 5G service near you. If you want a device that is only 4G, you have to opt for an older model, such as the $ 399 iPhone SE or iPhone 11 last year, now priced at $ 599. Or, you may not be able to activate the 5G service on your new iPhone 12 and benefit from the faster 4G capabilities of the device.

This follows the same strategy that Samsung introduced earlier this year. Starting with his Galaxy S20 Lineup, all of Samsung’s new flagship phones. in the US come with 5G connectivity. However, outside of the US, Samsung still offers 4G models, which ultimately hurt its position in 5G sales.

This will not be the case with the iPhone 12. All markets will have 5G iPhones, although only the US versions can connect to ultra-fast, short-range millimeter-wave networks.

While Samsung has released a dozen 5G phones since its first device in early 2019, it will fall to 3rd place in 5G phone shipments this year, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple will be number 2 after Huawei with less than three months of sales. And next year, Apple will be the world’s largest supplier of 5G phones, largely because all new iPhones are 5G by default.

“There is no demand for 5G phones, just push from operators and providers,” said Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. “If given a choice, people will still go for 4G because 5G is not needed. It doesn’t bring anything revolutionary new to the table that people want 5G phones.”

According to Strategy Analytics, all phone providers should ship around 273 million 5G phones in 2020. And next year, Apple will ship 180 million 5G iPhones out of a total of 670 million 5G phones in the market, according to the company.

While Apple and the carriers will do everything possible to make sure 5G works, it’s not up to them that we want it. Ultimately, it’s up to the developers and what they’re actually doing with 5G that makes it a must-have. Keep in mind that Apple’s adoption of 4G helped spread the word about apps like Uber and Airbnb, or services like live streaming – and many expect that to be the case with 5G too.

“Each generation of cellular networking technology on the iPhone has enabled breakthrough innovation and new opportunities for developers and our users,” said Cook. “And 5G is the most exciting step yet.”

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