Apple Enters 5G Race with New iPhone 12 Range

Desk Report

Published: 14 Oct 2020, 10:49 am

Apple Inc unveiled the next-generation iPhone 12 on Tuesday, with improved 5 G connectivity that the California company hopes will enable buyers to trade in their old phones and keep their sales booming until the end of the year.

The iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display, the cornerstone of the line-up, will retail for $799, while a 5.4-inch "Mini" version will be slightly cheaper at $699, reports Reuters.

A “Pro” version with three cameras and a new 3-D “lidar” sensor starts at $999, with the largest “Pro Max” starting at $1,099 and going up to $1,399.

The latest devices will test whether Apple can ride a wave of customer enthusiasm around 5 G wireless data networks, the fastest versions of which several times outperform the data speeds of their predecessors.

But if iPhone customers see a drastic speed increase, what Bob O'Donnell, Head of TECHnalysis Analysis, called "lots of little niggly details that get in the way of fulfilling the 5 G pledge" will rely heavily on where they are and which carrier they use.

He said Apple may be setting some customers up for disappointment when phones ship but offer only modest speed increases until carriers build out networks.

“I do not feel like Apple clarified that as much as they could have,” O’Donnell said.

In the United States, Apple said all iPhone 12 models will support millimeter wave 5 G, the fastest version of the technology, as well as lower-frequency bands.

Outside the United States, however, iPhones would lack compatibility with millimeter waves, except in countries such as Australia and South Korea, where carriers expect to carry out millimeter wave technology models. Like some cheaper Android devices, iPhone 12 models will only support 5 G lower-frequency variants in those countries.

In 30 regions worldwide, Apple said it had tested 5 G on more than 800 carriers. Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications Inc, appeared on Apple's livestream presentation to announce that the phones will work with the "ultra-wideband" 5 G network of the US carrier, designed to relieve bottlenecks in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, as well as in crowded areas such as NFL stadiums.

The equipment will arrive about a month later than is common for annual launches by Apple. Pre-orders in the United States , Britain, China and some other countries for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro begin on October 16 and deliveries begin on October 23. The iPhone Mini and Pro Max will be available on November 6 for pre-order and November 13 in stores.

Apple may face a lukewarm holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“As the convergence of flu season with Covid and colder weather forces everyone indoors, I think it is going to be harder to sell iPhones this Christmas. As much as Apple is a technology company, it is not known for its online sales, it is known for its in-store experience,” Dollarhide said.

Shares of Apple fell over 3% during the event, erasing $77 billion worth of stock market value, and closed down 2.7%.

Homepod Mini

Apple also revealed a smart speaker for the HomePod Mini that will cost $99 and be delivered on November 16. Many of the features act as a catch-up to Amazon.com Inc and Google's Alphabet Inc's related offerings.

But Ben Bajarin, senior consumer market intelligence analyst at Innovative Strategies research company, said Apple had fleshed out its vision of how its products could communicate more directly than competitors had with their own speakers.

For example, Apple customers can speak into their iPhone or iPad to use the HomePod Minis like an intercom system.

“That is not something that Google or Amazon, particularly Amazon, can do so cleanly,” said Bajarin.

“The advantage Apple has that they pressed on is that a good portion of those (Google and Amazon) customers have iPhones. They leveraged the fact they own the pocket,” he added.

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