This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


Four models of the iPhone 12 series are now available, and they are off to a good start in many countries. In my opinion, the most important feature of this year's models is 5G support. In Japan, the majority of people still say, "We don't need 5G," but in a few years, everyone will be using 5G. Even if you deny the latest technology, it will eventually become the norm.

Nevertheless, 5G is just getting started in every country. Ericsson estimates that the number of 5G users will reach 190 million by the end of 2020. That's only a few percent of the nearly 5 billion 4G users. But by 2025, the number of 5G users is expected to grow to 2.8 billion. Carriers will invest in 5G, and handset manufacturers will continue to release 5G-enabled products. The world is moving in a straight line toward 5G.

In the iPhone 12 series, even the iPhone 12 mini, which costs about 80,000 yen, is now 5G-enabled. Other manufacturers still offer 4G models for more than half of their lineup, but Apple was one of the first to switch to 5G. For carriers, it's a "nice to have" product that can create a pool of potential 5G users for any new iPhone they sell.

Even if the contract is still 4G, as long as the device is 5G-enabled, you can eventually switch to 5G. Some countries and carriers offer 5G without changing the contract. For the carriers, the iPhone 12 series has become a product they want to sell more than ever before.

Telecom carriers are investing heavily in 5G, so the biggest challenge for the next few years will be to increase the number of 5G users. While the iPhone series has a cheaper iPhone SE, users looking for a lower-priced model won't be interested in full 5G service. Carriers will be looking to increase the number of users who are currently using a mid-range or higher iPhone and are "always ready to use 5G" by switching to one of the iPhone 12 series.

Of course, other manufacturers are also actively rolling out 5G smartphones. According to Q1 2020 data (Statista), all of Android's 5G smartphones shipped were 24 million units, of which market share leader Samsung shipped 8.3 million units. However, when the iPhone 12 series comes out, it could quickly surpass that number.

A year ago, Apple shipped 73.8 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to IDC's research. This year, due to the impact of the new coronavirus and a significant delay in the release of the iPhone 12 series compared to previous years, fourth-quarter shipments may not reach last year's level. However, if you look at the next six months or so after each model goes on sale, tens of millions of units will be shipped. As a result, the number one share of the 5G smartphone market is sure to be Apple.

As Apple becomes the top 5G smartphone player, its market presence will be greater than ever before. It could have as much of an impact as the first iPhone in the market. This is because carriers, as well as companies developing services and apps, see the potential in 5G.

For example, the 5G high-speed environment can provide services such as "multi-angle video" where the viewer can switch to the camera of their choice for multiple-camera live streaming, and services that were not possible with 4G will be born one after another. As this happens, service and app providers will first support the largest share of 5G smartphones. This means that the iPhone 12 series may become the standard platform for 5G services.

One of the killer services of 5G is XR (VR / AR / MR, etc.); iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are equipped with LiDAR. LiDAR, with its high spatial distance measurement accuracy, is useful when using AR. This means that AR services using 5G may be sprouting up in rapid succession for the iPhone 12 Pro series. Killer 5G services are yet to emerge in any country, but the iPhone 12 Pro will likely be the catalyst for new 5G services.

And more users may switch to a 5G contract in the future to take advantage of the new 5G service. Rival manufacturers will also be moving to 5G in their products to support service and app developers. The 5G support of all models in the iPhone 12 series could be a great boost to the 5G market.


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.