As Apple Prepares for 5G iPhones, Twists and Turns Are Coming. Be Ready

5G wireless and iPhone 12

5G wireless and iPhone

The Particle Debris articles of the week cover the new 5G wireless technology. Controversy and confusion have already set in.

First, the issue of radiation safety from 5G signals has cropped up again. This time, “Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley” weighs in at the highly respected Scientific American. We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe.

5G, in its purest form, uses millimeter wavelengths. And that may be a bio safety issue under some circumstances. Quoting from ths S.A. article:

Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).

Also, wide coverage is hard to achieve, and that creates a problem with overly enthusiastic coverage maps. And so, next,  I found it interesting that “T-Mobile launches its nationwide 600 MHz 5G network….”

600 MHz is an enormous half meter wavelength, has a long reach and penetrates walls reasonably well. But bandwidth is proportional to frequency, and 600 MHz is well below expected 5G frequencies. So, T-Mobile, at least is playing fast and loose with “5G” tech nomenclature. It’s called “lower band 5G.” ::cough::

[Everything iPhone Users Need to Know About 5G Wireless.]

T-Mobile pointed out that the other US carriers are focusing on metropolitan areas (since they are using mmWave) and its competitors are charging customers extra to access the 5G network. T-Mobile’s lower band 5G will reach longer range and better reception indoors. T-Mobile says it won’t charge extra for its customers to use the 5G network.

Of course not. The catch? The Verge explains.

T-Mobile doesn’t offer specifics on what kind of speeds you’ll see on the new network, and the actual improvements will vary a lot by location. “In some places, 600 MHz 5G will be a lot faster than LTE. In others, customers won’t see as much difference,” a T-Mobile spokesperson tells The Verge.

I see a big mess coming. Is it live? Or Memorex? Or genuine 5G you’re getting? And if it really is high-speed, millimeter wavelength, how safe is it?

The Week’s News Debris

Cult of Mac reports: “Apple TV 4K users lose Dolby Vision for Apple TV+ content.

Titles like The Morning Show and See are still available in standard HDR. But even earlier episodes, which were available with Dolby Vision initially, can no longer be watched in the enhanced format.

Apparently, this is only affecting some viewers. As of December 6, I am not seeing that problem myself.

…others believe there may be an issue with Dolby Vision itself that Apple is ironing out.

It could be a problem with just some 4KTVs. I’ll keep an eye on this one. If you’re seeing this problem, let me know.

• From BGR, a referring to the rumored iPhone SE 2: “Apple’s releasing a new iPhone in just a few months, and now we know what it’s called.” Would you believe? iPhone 9. ::cough::

At least “SE 2” sounds like a move forward for a beloved product of old. “iPhone 9” seems like a step backward, an obviously inferior product. I don’t like this idea.

• Previously we wrote about and discussed an iPhone 11 Location Services issue. Now, Apple has provided a more detailed explanation. “Apple Explains Mysterious iPhone 11 Location Requests.” The lesson here is not to fly off the handle. Eventually, these things get explained.

• Are you ready for a 3 nanometer CPU fabrication process? It’s coming in the 2022 iPhone, according to Cult of Mac.

Achieving smaller numbers of nanometers between transistors is no guarantee of performance boosts. However, it does mean being able to pack more [transistors] on which can greatly improve performance. 3-nanometer chips would be a massive achievement for TSMC at a time when some people worry that Moore’s Law may be coming to an end.

• Finally, some 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are experiencing unexpected shutdowns and Apple has acknowledged the issue. Digital Trends has the story. “MacBook Pro: Apple acknowledges shutdown issue with a 2019 model.

The article is helpful and presents a possible fix.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

2 thoughts on “As Apple Prepares for 5G iPhones, Twists and Turns Are Coming. Be Ready

  • John:

    Glad to see your PD article; I had worried, not seeing it up on Friday, that we wouldn’t be in for our weekly PD fix.

    That said, your lede article is an important one, and for two principal reasons, both of which revolve round the question of accurate, up to date public information on a new product; importantly, information that has a direct bearing on consumer safety in two ways, public health from exposure to the new product, and consumer protection in understanding what constitutes 5G technology and what does not, and whether when consumers sign up for the new product, that they are actually receiving it.

    Regarding the first, public health, Dr Moskowitz asserts, in the Scientific American piece, that this new millimetre wavelength technology has been insufficiently studied using appropriate controlled design, and that electromagnetic fields (EMF) scientists have new peer reviewed publications that they argue qualify to move adverse event causality from a classification of ‘possible’ to ‘probable’ in causing or being associated with adverse events.

    It is important to understand what these designations mean to scientists, and how they are formally used by regulators. ‘Possible’ means that, although there is no evidence suggesting a link, there is insufficient evidence to rule out a linkage. ‘Probable’ means that there is evidence to suggest or establish a linkage’. I could cite examples, one of which I have personally been involved in, but these can easily be searched online by anyone interested. The difference is substantial, and has more than once, resulted in changes in warning labels or even removing products from the market.

    If true, then this is a substantial shift of the weight of evidence, and warrants a high level and independent review of the peer-reviewed literature in the form of a meta-analysis, such as one led by the National Institutes of Health. If such a causality upgrade is upheld by independent systematic review, then appropriate controlled studies to provide clarity on harmful vs safe exposures should be initiated without delay. If they are not, then whether or not this new technology poses a public health concern, uncertainty in a climate of insufficient evidence and strong opinion will undermine confidence in the technology while leaving the public potentially at risk; a move that harkens back to earlier times when concerns around other exposures were left unexplored until mounting evidence became too overwhelming to be ignored. In an age in which truth is being seen as increasingly relative, and alternative facts de rigueur, absence of any response in the face of an active assertion by members of the EMF research community would be tantamount to dereliction, and leave the public prey to misinformation and disinformation, and possible harm. The slow response of the vaccine research community to assertions of adverse events related to measles and polio vaccines, on the one hand, and asbestos and lead exposures, on the other, are cases in point that underscore urgency in effectively communicating thorough evidence-based information to the public.

    Regarding the second, understanding what is 5G, it is becoming increasingly clear, as cited more than once here at TMO, that companies are playing fast and loose with designations of 5G, and that even when it rolls out, it will be gradual, site-specific and discontinuous in nature, and that, even if one has a 5G capable device, it does not mean that one is receiving 5G service. Consumers may, as a result, drop one service in favour of another, and still not receive the advertised product. This is one area where TMO should continue their public service on this topic by hosting a series of articles over the coming months leading up to 5G rollouts, helping to educate the public on what is and is not 5G, which companies are rolling it out and where. Your 07 March 2018 article is great beginning. Repetition of information on a new technology has been shown to be essential for information uptake, and more importantly, education and understanding. Assuming that service providers will provide unbiased, fact-based and thorough information in this regard, information that could disadvantage their competitiveness, would be ahistorical and naive.

    Looking forward to more.

  • All of these controversies about 5G are part of why I got an 11. Ill wait 4-5 years for the dust to settle before I go with 5G. In any event, here in the land of long distances, heavy rain, and thick trees, I suspect it could be a decade before we see any 5G benefits, if we ever do.

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