One of the things that has always impressed me about iPhones is the degree to which they are part of the mainstream cultural discourse. When Apple launches a new iPhone, the news will be covered not only by technical media but also by lifestyle or general news agencies. It’s a level of relevance that most other phone brands often don’t match – while Samsung is often heavily covered, it seems like everyone has something to say when Apple makes an announcement.
By the time you’re reading this, you’ve heard that Apple has announced four models in the new iPhone 12 family. One of the most important new features is that they all support 5G.
This is great news for everyone in the mobile industry, from carriers to Qualcomm to rivals like Samsung, because everyone has been on the 5G hype train – even if 5G isn’t prime time ready yet. But now that Apple does, 5G is going to get the much-needed boost.
5G is here! Something like that …
Tech-wise, 5G has been available in the US for over a year, but sometimes it is practical and realistic. The speeds for Sub-6 5G (used by T-Mobile and AT&T) are only slightly faster than 4G for the most part, and slower in some cases. Then there’s the mmWave 5G that Verizon provided, and while it’s actually remarkably fast – we got more than 2Gbps connected to Verizon’s fastest network – the coverage areas are extremely limited.
In fact, Verizon used the iPhone 12 launch show as a platform to announce that it is also launching a sub-6 network that is slower but will at least cover “nationwide”. It’s unlikely that Verizon was magically able to solve the issues that are slowing down the AT&T and T-Mobiles Sub-6 5G’s slowdown. Hence, there is a chance that the state of 5G will remain largely unchanged in the near future.
Usually when something has happened hyped so much and not deliver at even the most basic level, consumers would revolt. Imagine how mad you would be if you bought a Tesla that still needed gas or a Galaxy Fold that couldn’t fold. You’d freak out.
The fact that there hasn’t been much pressure on the sad state of 5G in the US shows that for the most part, the average person don’t know much and don’t care about 5G. Samsung, LG, and Motorola may have been releasing 5G phones in the US for more than a year, and every wireless operator and phone store in the US has been banners for 5G. Still, most people don’t care – until the iPhone 12.
If Apple does something, the wireless industry will follow
A few years ago I interviewed Anker CEO Steven Yang and he told me he wished Apple would switch to USB-C because, in his words, “As soon as Apple does this, the entire industry and USB-C will follow immediately becomes the norm. “
Android fans reading this may roll their eyes, but it’s true. Think FaceTime. Video calling existed in various apps long before Apple was launched, but it wasn’t until Apple started video calling, at least in North America. Same goes for real wireless earbuds. Almost a year before the AirPods debuted, the German brand Bragi and Chinese start-ups had already released wireless earbuds. But the market only picked up pace after the AirPods.
Today, AirPods are synonymous with wireless earbuds and ubiquitous around the world. And since we’re on the topic of AirPods, remember when the headphone jack was a breeze and a must have in all electronic devices? Apple killed it; People, including the media and fans, complained loudly; But in the end Apple won anyway – the headphone jack is dead on smartphones.
Now that the latest iPhones not only support 5G, but Apple has actively promoted it? It will be a milestone for the industry. The average person wants to know what 5G is now and may want to ask questions if their iPhone 12 is connected to 5G networks that are not delivering the noticeable data speed improvements that every network operator is trying to tout as the benefits of 5G.
How will the iPhone 12 5G carrier be put into action?
Consider other features like visual voicemail, iMessage, and eSIMs. Each of these features was developed by Apple and received widespread carrier support almost immediately. With the sheer number of iPhones sold each year, the iPhone is the number one smartphone that can inspire wireless carriers to act.
eSIMs are a great example – they’ve been around for some time on certain Android phones, but carrier support has been incredibly spotty. The introduction of the eSIM on the iPhone and iPad resulted in many more network operators supporting the eSIM. Even so, problems remain that can only be solved with increasing technology.
The same is ultimately true of 5G and the iPhone 12. The technology is not fleshed out, but until now most people didn’t care about 5G. It’s a well-known industry secret that iPhone customers have significantly higher average revenue per user – one of the top metrics partners and carriers consider – meaning Apple users are spending more than Android users. This also means that Apple can exert some influence on network operators – we’ve seen that with Apple’s strict price controls since the first iPhone. Now they need to figure out how to make significant improvements to 5G in a short period of time.
How can you do that? An AT&T spokesman said that Washington Post It could aggregate more 4G spectrum for 5G for speed (Sub-6 5G is essentially the same spectrum as 4G LTE right now). “Condensing” 5G signals – increasing the volume of signals in a given room – is another suggested method Verizon has used to address the ultra-wideband portion of its network.
Whatever they end up doing, the pressure on carriers is now to deliver data speeds that are actually fifth generation. Now that the iPhone supports it, Apple’s marketing arm will make the general public want it. As Steve Jobs once said, people don’t know what they want until you show them, and we can trust Apple to make people want 5G.