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US-bound iPhone 12 might have faster 5G, but could be delayed until December


Apple iPhone 12 Pro concept render based on leaks

Apple has announced and released new iPhone models every September since 2012. Unfortunately, the recent COVID-19 pandemic means some delays are now likely, and one group of analysts believes the US-bound iPhone 12 models could be the worst affected.

The US-bound iPhone 12 will have mmWave 5G tech

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are expected to offer 5G connectivity as standard, yet not all 5G technology is equal. Wedbush analysts (via 9To5Mac) see Apple releasing two versions of the iPhone 12 series, one being an international lineup and the other a US-only alternative. 

Both of these should offer Sub-6GHz 5G support, which is more suited to rural areas, but the US models will also include the added benefit of mmWave technology, which promises faster speeds at shorter distances and is, therefore, perfect for use in dense urban areas.

Combining both technologies together on all models would be the ideal scenario, but mmWave can drive up costs and significantly complicate the production timeline. That is why Wedbush believes the US-bound iPhone 12 models might not hit shelves until December.

If COVID-19 further complicates the situation, Wedbush warns that some models could even be delayed until early 2021. That has never happened before and seems unlikely at this stage of development, but it nevertheless remains a possibility.

The one thing that remains unclear at this stage is whether all iPhone 12 models in the United States will offer mmWave support or if the latter will be limited to the Pro-branded models. In that case, the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 may be available at an earlier date. 

Apple might delay all iPhone 12 models until at least October

As for the international iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro devices, Wedbush expects these to start reaching consumers in October. If that is the case, Apple may also choose to delay its announcement event until October in an attempt to maintain interest around the devices before the release. The only time Apple has ever announced a new iPhone in October was 2011, which saw the introduction of the iPhone 4S. Rather coincidentally, the iPhone 12 Pro borrows design cues from that device.

Of course, there is always a downside. Apple is planning to announce several other products alongside its newest iPhones including the rumored 11-inch iPad Air and highly anticipated Apple Watch Series 6, which would likely have to be pushed back a little too.

Ultimately, though, Wedbush thinks the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro delay is going to be the best decision for sales because the holiday season will be nearer, the global economy will have had more time to recover, and people should be more willing to spend their money.

Apple is now expected to ship between 165 million and 185 million iPhones between January and December 2020. That is down around 15% year-on-year but should precede an extremely strong 2021.

Around 350 million iPhones will be in the upgrade window next year, which Wedbush says could lead to a delayed 5G super cycle. A super cycle was previously predicted for 2018 and that never happened, so there’s certainly no guarantees this time around.



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