Apple Inc has unveiled, through an event which was streamed online, its much-awaited next-generation iPhone 12 that boasts of a faster 5G connectivity.
With this, the US-based company hopes that customers will be encouraged 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 sell for $799, while a ‘Mini’ edition with a 5.4-inch display will be marginally cheaper at $699. A ‘Pro’ edition begins at $999 with three cameras and a new 3-D ‘lidar’ sensor, with the largest ‘Pro Max’ beginning at $1,099 and going up to $1,399.
The latest devices will test whether Apple can ride a wave of customer enthusiasm around 5G wireless data networks, the fastest versions of which outperform the data speeds of their predecessors.
But whether the iPhone customers see a drastic speed increase would rely heavily on where they are and which carrier they use. Experts say that Apple may be setting some customers up for disappointment when phones ship but offer only modest speed increases until carriers build out networks.
In the United States, Apple said all iPhone 12 models will support millimeter wave 5G, the fastest version of the technology, as well as lower-frequency bands.
Outside the United States, however, iPhones would lack compatibility with millimeter waves, even in countries such as Australia and South Korea, where carriers expect to carry out millimeter wave technology versions. Like some cheaper Android devices, lower-frequency versions of 5G will only be supported on iPhone 12 models in those countries.
In 30 regions worldwide, Apple said it had tested 5G on more than 800 carriers. Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, appeared at Apple’s livestream presentation to reveal that the phones would operate with the ‘ultra-wideband’ 5G network of the US carrier. Verizon is a global telecommunication conglomerate headquartered in the US.
The devices will arrive about a month later than is common for annual launches by Apple. Pre-ordering in the United States, Britain, China and some other countries for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro begins on October 16 and deliveries start on October 23. The iPhone Mini and Pro Max will be available from November 6 for pre-order and November 13 in stores.
HomePod Mini Speakers
Apple also revealed a smart HomePod Mini speaker that will cost $99 and ship from November 16 onwards. Many of the features act as a catch-up to similar Amazon and Google products.
But Ben Bajarin, senior consumer market intelligence analyst at a research company called Creative Strategies, said Apple has integrated its vision of how its products could communicate more directly than competitors had with their own speakers. For starters, Apple customers can speak into their iPhone or iPad to use the HomePod Minis like an intercom system.
“That’s not something that Google or Amazon, particularly Amazon, can do so cleanly,” said Bajarin. “The advantage of Apple is that a good portion of those (Google and Amazon) customers have iPhones. They leveraged the fact they own the pocket.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Apple may face a lukewarm holiday season, experts claim. As the flu season converges with COVID-19 and colder weather brings everyone indoors, this Christmas it’s going to be harder to sell iPhones. Moreover, Apple is not known for its online sales, it’s known for its in-store experience, they said.
During the event, Apple shares plummeted over 3 percent, erased the stock market value of $77 billion and closed down 2.7 percent.