Apple enters the 5G race with the new iPhone 12 range
By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Apple Inc launched its next-gen iPhone 12 on Tuesday, with faster 5G connectivity that the California-based company hopes will keep consumers trading in their old phones and keeping its sales booming until the end. of the year.
The heart of the line, the iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display, will sell for $ 799, while a “Mini” version with a 5.4-inch display will be slightly cheaper at $ 699. A “Pro” version with three cameras and a new 3D “lidar” sensor starts at $ 999, with the larger “Pro Max” starting at $ 1,099 and going up to $ 1,399.
The new products will test whether Apple can ride a wave of consumer enthusiasm around 5G wireless data networks, the fastest variants of which exceed the data rates of their predecessors by several times.
But whether iPhone buyers see a dramatic increase in speed will depend heavily on where they are and which carrier they’re using – what Bob O’Donnell, head of TECHnalysis Research, called “de many small details that prevent the promise of 5G from being fulfilled. “
He said Apple may cause disappointment for some customers when the phones ship, but will only offer modest speed increases until carriers build networks.
“I don’t feel like Apple has clarified this as much as they could have,” O’Donnell said.
Apple has said that all iPhone 12 models in the United States will support millimeter wave 5G, the fastest variant of the technology, as well as lower frequency bands.
Outside of the United States, however, iPhones will lack millimeter wave compatibility, even in countries like Australia and South Korea where operators plan to deploy versions of millimeter wave technology. Like some cheaper Android devices, iPhone 12 models in these countries will only support low-frequency versions of 5G.
Apple said it has tested 5G on more than 800 carriers in 30 regions around the world. Verizon Communications Inc CEO Hans Vestberg appeared during Apple’s live presentation to announce that the phones will work with the US carrier’s “ultra-wideband” 5G network, designed to alleviate bottlenecks in the industry. big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as crowded areas like the NFL. stages.
The devices will arrive about a month later than usual for Apple’s annual launches. Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in the United States, Great Britain, China, and other countries begin October 16, and shipments begin October 23. The iPhone Mini and Pro Max will be available for pre-order on November 6. and in stores on November 13.
Apple could face a lukewarm holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Jake Dollarhide, managing director of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“As the flu season’s convergence with COVID and colder weather forces everyone inside, I think it will be more difficult to sell iPhones this Christmas. As much as Apple is a tech company, it doesn’t. It’s not known for its online sales, it’s known for its in-store experiences, ”Dollarhide said.
Apple shares fell more than 3% during the event, wiping out $ 77 billion in market value, and closed 2.7% lower.
Apple also announced a HomePod Mini smart speaker that will cost $ 99 and ship starting November 16. Many features serve as catch-ups to similar offerings from Amazon.com Inc and Google from Alphabet Inc.
But Ben Bajarin, senior analyst for consumer market intelligence at research firm Creative Strategies, said Apple has fleshed out its vision for how its devices could interact more directly with its own speakers than its competitors. . For example, Apple customers can talk into their iPhone or iPad to use HomePod Minis as an intercom system.
“It’s not something that Google or Amazon, especially Amazon, can do so neatly,” Bajarin said. “The advantage of Apple that they insisted on is that a good chunk of these customers (Google and Amazon) have iPhones. They’ve taken advantage of the fact that they have the pocket.”
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Noel Randewich, Krystal Hu and Echo Wang; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Rosalba O’Brien)