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When Apple put out its shiny iPhone 12 about a year ago,was the star of the show. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg joined Apple CEO Tim Cook for a keynote to talk about next-generation technology, which served as the marquee feature and reason to upgrade. Even as recently as July, during his fiscal third-quarter earnings conference call, Cook said 5G was “in a very early innings” and suggested a higher threshold.
On Tuesday, Apple unveiledphone family, from aadhaar till . The company spent around 90 seconds talking about 5G during its 80-minute presentation.
5G’s exile from center stage to side act underscores the rugged introduction of next-generation wireless technology. Once touted as a game-changer with blazing speed, the reality for 5G has been a wildly inconsistent set of experiences based on devices and location. The result: Consumers poured some excitement and enthusiasm into wireless service over what the carriers had expected.
“From an Apple consumer-focused standpoint, there’s no killer app other than speed testing — which really takes advantage of faster speeds and lower latency,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. “Why advertise something that the consumer won’t experience as a real benefit?”
The experience you got with 5G was already inconsistent with last year’s iPhone 12. Verizon touted an ultra-fast flavor powered by millimeter wave spectrum, the kind of connection that would let you download seasons of TV shows in seconds, but the service was only available in stadiums or crowded city centers — which that were almost empty because of the pandemic. On the other end, T-Mobile spoke of full nationwide coverage with a version of 5G that was only marginally faster than 4G.
But Apple had to spark some ingenuity and interest in 5G, just like everything from mobile payments to wireless charging. Other companies jump into the new technologies first, but Apple comes up with a polished version that leaves the masses pumped. Apple adding all the flavors of 5G to all of its devices was an impressive feat.
“5G is the most exciting step yet,” Cook said in his speech last year.
“5G just got real,” Vestberg said of the iPhone’s embrace of technology.
iPhone 12 sales were brisk right out of the gate. A new design for the iPhone, which includes upgraded cameras, as well as typical Apple fan devotion, fueled record sales of its latest flagship device. My colleague and Nerdshala editor Ian Sher says it was such a success that it pushed Apple’s sales and profits to new records despite launching in the pandemic.
But 5G was more along for the ride than the driver of interest.
More 5G in more places
Cook did not mention 5G this year. Kayn Drance, Vice President of iPhone Marketing for Apple, dedicated a short, 90-second segment on the broader embrace of technology with the new iPhone. He mentioned that the iPhone 13 would be able to connectThis year in more than 60 countries and territories.
“5G will be far more relevant to consumers in Europe and the US this year than it was last year, as carriers build out their mid-band 5G networks,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Techsponential. Good mix of speed and range.
But beyond that short segment, Apple only offered a token mention when talking about 5G.And .
Apple was more than eager to talk about the 5G capabilities in its iPhone a year ago. Drance talked to me and my colleague Patrick Holland about the technique they used toBy being a total power hog on the iPhone 12 (Android manufacturers had similar settings).
Instead, Apple this year focused on core features like the iPhone 13’s, As well as .
Still, that won’t stop carriers from rolling out the new iPhone, which represents one of the biggest opportunities to capture new customers or hunt down customers from rivals with few.. For example, AT&T has already offered an aggressive trade-in offer for new iPhones, while T-Mobile has a “Forever” upgrade plan that gives you $800 for a new iPhone every two years.
It’s not like 5G. The thing with technology, as complicated as it is, is that technology has enormous potential. It is still seen as the foundation for other breakthroughs such as self-driving cars and telemedicine.
Verizon and AT&T are racing to roll out a new flavor of so-called midband spectrum, which is supposed to give 5G a big boost, something T-Mobile is already doing this year.
Maybe at that point, Apple will be interesting enough to bring 5G again during a future iPhone launch.