iPhone 12 Surprise: Not All 5G Created Equal

5G wireless and iPhone 12

As we may have already guessed, 5G wireless means whatever the carriers want it to mean. Clarification is in order because not all 5G created equal.

As the launch of the iPhone draws near, it’s time to look at what the high, mid and low bands of 5G mean for the consumer. And when each will come into widespread use.

Not All 5G Created Equal

The Particle Debris article of the week comes from Gene Munster at LoupVentures.

Over the next decade, we believe 5G will be a transformative force because it will allow users to leverage data in the cloud for real-time computing, opening the door for an array of new technologies and businesses. That said, not all 5G is created equal, which has led to marketing noise from carriers regarding 5G performance and deployment.

Munster likens 5G to a three-layered cake. The botton layer is 5G low band. It has a longer wavelength than the millimeter wavelengths we usually associate with 5G (mmWave). It, therefore, has a longer range and better penetration through walls. This band will roll out first. That’s because the carriers knew that the expensive to implement and limited range of the high band would be suicidal to roll out, broadly, first. (Except for early mmWave tests in a few major cities. Gotta have some 5G performance hype for the marketing department.)

That said, with average speeds just ~1.4x faster than 4G, low band 5G is only a marginal improvement and likely won’t drive consumer adoption of 5G devices, e.g., iPhone 12.

Munster provides an estimate of when the three bands will be in widespread use—with the fastest high band in widespread use in 2025. His chart and associated text shed a lot of light on what we can expect in the coming years. Buyer beware.

The Week’s Apple News Debris

• So what’s missing in the Apple Watch SE? Does it matter to you? The Verge explains. “Apple Watch SE review: pay a lot less to give up only a little.” There is a thorough discussion, but notably:

The other significant note about the SE is it’s the most likely model to choose if you want to take advantage of Apple’s new Family Setup feature. … it’s effectively Apple’s answer to the GPS tracking smartwatches for kids that Verizon, T-Mobile, and other carriers sell. It requires a watch with cellular connectivity, and since the SE is the lowest cost model Apple sells with that option, it’s the most appropriate one to give to a young child.

• The Apple Watch is so successful now, according to Neil Cybart, that more than one in three iPhone owners today is wearing one. “[It’s] a runaway train with no company in a position to slow it down.” This from Cybart’s analysis column Above Avalon.. “Apple Watch Momentum Is Building.

The sales chart Cybart presents is amazing.

According to my estimate, there were 81 million people wearing an Apple Watch as of the end of June. According to Apple, 75% of Apple Watch sales are going to first-time customers. This means that 23 million people will have bought their first Apple Watch in 2020.

To put that number in context, there are about 25 million people wearing a Fitbit. The Apple Watch installed base is increasing by the size of Fitbit’s overall installed base every 12 months.

• The biggest problem with a foldable smartphone, as Samsung found out with the Galaxy Fold, is damage along the crease. And, so we have Apple in the wings working to solve that problem. From 9to5Mac: Apple invents self-healing display for foldable iPhone.

As Spock would say, “It’s only logical.”

• iOS 14 has a lot of new privacy features. Here’s an overview, from Digital Trends, with great visual instructions on how to implement them. “How iOS 14’s privacy features can keep you safer.” Do them after you’re done here.

• Will a future European iPhone come app free? Maybe. MacRumors reports: “EU Plans to Ban Tech Companies From Pre-Installing Apps, Force Them to Share Data With Competitors.” Why the data sharing?

As part of its new Digital Services Act, the EU is planning to force the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google to hand over customer data to smaller rivals in an effort to loosen the grip of big tech on consumers.

The big un-squeeze may be coming.

The companions will seem so cuddly at first.

• Finally, research into how we view intelligent robots has identified “distinct patterns in brain activity.” See: “Brain Activity Betrays Personal Attitudes About Human-Like Robots, Says Study.

This research is significant because it will help teach everyone how humans engage with robots, while also taking the temperature of the public’s future reaction to AI and humanoid robots in both healthcare applications and daily life.

And so, you will, by design, come to love your service robot. You won’t know why; it’ll just be a feeling.

By design.

Particle Debris is 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.

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One of the side benefits of the switch to 5G is that older 2G service is retired, and some carriers are eliminating 3G as well.

This is good because older protocols, 2G especially, had security holes that hackers and “Stingrays” used. Good riddance.

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John:   A number of good reads this, although in fairness I haven’t had time to do most of them justice. By far, my favourite was Neil Cybart’s piece on Apple Watch Building Momentum. It’s an accurate analysis not simply on the Apple Watch’s position on a complex and dynamic tech battlefield, as competing platforms jockey for pole position in the race for the future, but of how Apple leverages each of these moving parts we too often view simply as devices, to compete against each other, and how, combined, these make the platform itself more nimble, versatile, adaptable and… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by W. Abdullah Brooks, MD