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Home / Business News / Apple launches iPhone 12 line with 5G speeds, new screens

Apple launches iPhone 12 line with 5G speeds, new screens

At a virtual event on Tuesday, the company showed off the iPhone 12 in black, red, blue, green and white with a 6.1-inch screen. It starts at $799.

business Updated: Oct 13, 2020, 23:51 IST
Bloomberg | Posted by Arpan Rai
Bloomberg | Posted by Arpan Rai
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro is unveiled during a virtual product launch seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro is unveiled during a virtual product launch seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (Bloomberg)

Apple Inc. unveiled its latest range of iPhones, a product line that Wall Street expects will kick off a new cycle of sales growth for the world’s largest technology company.

At a virtual event on Tuesday, the company showed off the iPhone 12 in black, red, blue, green and white with a 6.1-inch screen. It starts at $799.

The front of the phones looks similar to last year’s iPhone 11, but the aluminum edges are now flat instead of curved. They support 5G, a new wireless standard that can transmit data as much as 10 times faster than the current 4G LTE technology. Apple shares slipped 2.3%, giving up some big gains from Monday.

An iPhone 12 mini, starting at $699, was also unveiled with a 5.4 inch screen, along with an iPhone 12 Pro with stainless steal edges. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7 inch (17 cm) screen, Apple’s largest ever. Colors for the Pro are pacific blue, gold, graphite and silver.

The handsets also have a faster A14 processor and updated cameras and use sharper OLED screens, an improvement from last year’s cheaper LCD screens, Apple said. Apple said that the new A14 Bionic processor is 50% faster than the A13 chip from the iPhone 11 line.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has generated relatively little sales growth from its marquee product in recent years as consumers hold onto their phones for longer. Quarterly revenue from this segment peaked in the first quarter of Apple’s 2018 fiscal year.

This year’s crop of new iPhones marks the first major redesign in three years, which could prompt more upgrades and a new spurt of growth. Investors and analysts are also bullish on sales in China, where 5G networks are more built-out than in the U.S.

The iPhone 12 boasts an updated camera system with improved low-light performance, faster apertures and updates to computational photography. The new phones also support a new magnetic version of wireless charging called MagSafe.

The 5G capabilities make the phones theoretically capable of downloading data much faster, although that will mostly depend on wireless carriers updating their networks. Apple’s 5G launch comes over a year after Samsung Electronics Co. and other rivals started selling handsets supporting the standard.

Apple said it tested 5G globally across 100 carriers. It added that the U.S. models will support the faster millimeter wave technology. Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Hans Vestberg joined the event to announce nationwide 5G coverage in the U.S. and an expansion of its fastest, ultra wideband 5G service in several cities.

In the first quarter of this year, phone makers led by Samsung shipped 3.4 million 5G phones in the U.S., a fraction of the overall market, Strategy Analytics data show. In a few other countries, 5G has performed far better. A third of phone sales in China during the second quarter were 5G handsets, according to Counterpoint Research.

Tests by IHS Markit’s RootMetrics across 125 U.S. areas in the first half of 2020 showed that 5G speeds on AT&T Inc., T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint are only slightly faster than 4G LTE. AT&T and T-Mobile, which bought Sprint, have both claimed their 5G networks are available “nationwide,” a metric that means they can reach 200 million people, but coverage is still often sporadic and data speeds are not consistently faster.

(Updates with more details on handsets in second paragraph.)

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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