Apple unveils its first-ever 5G phone in hopes of mass upgrades

The era of 5G iPhones is finally here.

Apple on Tuesday unveiled its iPhone 12 lineup — a slate of four devices that will be able to access super-fast wireless speeds that are as much as 10 or 20 times faster than current 4G networks.

Apple Chief executive Tim Cook and other executives launched the new lines of phones via webcast from the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters in hope that promises of super fast 5G speeds will spur a massive wave of upgrades and boost sales. 

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called Tuesday’s launch “Apple’s most important product cycle since the iPhone 6 in 2014,” predicting it will “translate into a “supercycle” for Cupertino for the next year.”

But while there appears to be strong demand for 5G speeds, the pricey phones are also being launched at a time of massive unemployment. And it’s not yet clear whether Apple can deliver on its 5G promises, which may depend on where customers live as 5G service remains spotty throughout the country.

Using the next iPhone or any 5G enabled device on today’s network will be “like having a Ferrari … but using it in your local village and you can’t drive to up to 200 miles per hour, simply because the roads cannot maintain those speeds,” Boris Metodiev, associate director of research firm Strategy Analytics told Reuters.

At the top of the company’s lineup Tuesday was the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, which featuring three cameras each plus a state-of-the-art OLED dislpay. The iPhone 12 has one fewer camera and a lower quality OLED screen, but comes with a cheaper $799 price tag.

The new iPhone 12 also comes in a Mini variant, with a 5.4 inch touchscreen that will be sure to please critics of the super-sized smartphones that have become the norm in recent years. The Mini will retail starting at $699.

The new iPhone design abandons the rounded edges that the device has sported for the past several years, replaced instead by iPad Pro-style flat edges that harkens back to the design of Apple’s mega-popular iPhone 4 line.

Apple is also limiting the freebies it provides in the iPhone box in order to cut costs associated with providing 5G capabilities. Gone will be the 18W power adapter and complementary pair of earbuds, which could help increase demand for its already popular AirPods.

Apple also announced its second try at making a dent in the smart speaker market after the failure of 2018’s HomePod. The new HomePod Mini costs $99, and the company promises that it will work seamlessly with the iPhone.

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