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New report highlights just how little iPhone and Android users care about 5G

If it sometimes feels like smartphone vendors are just a teensy bit out of touch with the desires and preferences of their actual customers at large, a fresh survey conducted by BlinkAI Technologies seems to suggest your instincts might indeed be right on the money.

It’s enough to remember how much emphasis Apple (along with Verizon) put on the 5G support of the hot new iPhone 12 family when said high-end handset quartet was unveiled roughly five months ago to suspect the company’s upgrade priorities may not be entirely aligned with those of millions and millions of users around the world.

5G matters less than battery life, storage, a new processor, and a great camera

Of course, the aforementioned self-proclaimed “leading provider of AI-powered imaging enhancement solutions for camera systems used across the mobile, automotive, and security industries” compiled its latest report based on the responses of only a little over one thousand American smartphone owners to a few simple questions. While that sample is probably not representative for the overall global smartphone market, it still says a lot when just 34 percent of that group view 5G speeds as a “compelling reason” to buy a new device.

In contrast, extended battery life was deemed a major upgrade factor by a whopping 73 percent of the consumers surveyed just last month, and while we wouldn’t say Samsung’s Galaxy S21 5G series and Apple’s iPhone 12 5G lineup perform poorly in that department compared to their predecessors, they also don’t deliver the dramatic endurance improvements apparently desired by a vast majority of potential buyers.
Other important things US smartphone owners seem to be paying more attention to nowadays than 5G connectivity include storage, enhanced processing power, and higher-quality photos and videos. 
If we’re reading this correctly, a 4G LTE-only Snapdragon 888 handset with, say, up to 512 gigs of local digital hoarding room and a phenomenal camera could easily become more successful than the 5G-capable iPhone 12 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S21, at least in the US.

5G is more important for Android users than iPhone owners

In terms of more specific camera improvements coveted by the masses, nighttime photo and video quality enhancements comfortably lead the list, followed at a huge distance by 5x optical zoom technology (now that’s specific), general front and rear-facing shooter upgrades, 8K video, and triple rear cam introduction. 

Intriguingly (and weirdly) enough, there’s absolutely no mention of retail prices impacting people’s willingness to purchase a certain smartphone model in today’s report, but it’s definitely worth pointing out that Android users are slightly more interested in 5G than their iPhone-owning counterparts.

That might have something to do with the far larger number of Android models supporting 5G speeds (of all varieties) available right now at many different price points, as well as with Apple’s late adoption of the latest standard in cellular connectivity.

Obviously, US mobile network operators carry an equal if not larger blame for this general disinterest in a technology long billed as groundbreaking and game-changing while so far delivering modest real-world speed gains. On the bright side, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are all working diligently on rapidly advancing and expanding their 5G infrastructure, which in turn should boost user excitement over eventually leaving 4G LTE behind.

In the meantime, we should also note Android owners care more about processing speed when considering a new handset purchase, but even though better Qualcomm chipsets are released every year (sometimes even twice a year), Android users generally like to hang on to their devices longer than iPhone owners as well.

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