Now that the dust has settled and the world has come to terms with the latest iteration of the iPhone, we are taking the opportunity to see what both consumers and experts had to say about Apple’s first 5G-enabled device.
For this year, we saw Apple continue its trend of releasing multiple devices under its latest line, grouped under two categories: the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. On one hand, we have the more budget-friendly iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. On the other hand, under the Pro category, we have the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, this year’s flagships.
For the most, the only difference between the Pro and base versions is a third camera on the back and the addition of a LiDAR sensor, as well as a bump in size and storage capacity. There aren’t any differences in processor chips or screen technology as one would expect.
“The pandemic’s global shutdown has only exacerbated many existing problems for smartphone makers,” TechCrunch writes. “The clearest representation of Apple’s reaction is in the sheer number of iPhones announced at today’s “Hi Speed” event. Long gone are the days when a company could rest on a single flagship or two.”
Indeed, COVID-19 has had an expected nosedive effect on global smartphone sales, sending them plummeting by 20% during Q2 2020, as per Gartner data.
Here’s what people had to say.
The experts, industry members and journalists
While many experts, industry members and journalists were positive about the predictable reveal, some did have their reservations. CNBC spoke with a few to learn what the thought of the reveal:
Krish Sankar, senior research analyst at US investment bank Cowen, said that the iPhone 12 line’s specifications fell in line with what the industry had predicted, and that Apple would reap the benefits of introducing 5G connectivity to their device over the next 2-3 years.
Tim Long, senior research analyst at Barclays, was a bit more skeptical about Apple’s hopes for 5G, noting that “it’s been a while since [Apple] has a good hit.”
Joanna Stern, personal technology columnist at The Wall Street Journal, said that Apple has yet to unveil a “killer app” that would justify the switch to a 5G iPhone device.
Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge, was even more critical in his assessment:
“In the middle of Apple’s pitch for 5G, they announced a feature called Smart Data Mode … the thing that Smart Data Mode does for you is it turns 5G off to save battery life. So not only is the network not ready, the hardware, because the networks are new and the modems are new, is going to drain your battery life if you overuse 5G. So the phone itself unless you’re doing something that demands a lot of speed is going to turn 5G off almost most of the time. I did not see a single compelling use case for 5G in that entire presentation, other than the speed test app.”
Quoting JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee, Apple Insider said that “positive sentiment is mostly based on the forecast that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will drive a strong replacement cycle, led by a combination of new form factors, a broader range of display sizes and prices, competitive pricing, and other factors.”
As is usually the case with consumer reactions online, they were divisive, humorous and laden with memes. Some seemed excited about being able to make the upgrade to a 5G iPhone, while many ridiculed Apple’s decision to increase the price of their latest devices.
This issue was especially glaring when they considered the fact that the new iPhone 12 lineup does not include a charger or EarPods in the box, which was a major point of criticism for most. One reddit post pointed out Apple’s faulty logic, where it claims it is no longer shipping chargers with new devices as they often get discarded by previous iPhone users. Except, the iPhone 12 does not come with a lightning to USB-A cable, which was the standard for iPhones in the past. The iPhone 12 instead comes with a lightning to USB-C cable, making previous iPhone chargers incompatible with the new cable, meaning customers will either need to buy adapters or outright new chargers entirely – which defeats the purpose of Apple’s argument.
Other comments made fun of the fact that the iPhone 12 design was lazy in that it looked to them like a stretched iPhone 5.
Most comments, however, criticized the new devices’ prices, some of the most expensive yet, while others noted that little differences between the iPhone 11 and 12, save for 5G, did not justify the upgrade.
For now, let’s wait for the official reviews.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12/iPhone 12 Pro begin Friday, October 16, with availability beginning Friday, October 23. The iPhone 12 Mini/iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for pre-order Friday, November 6, and in stores beginning Friday, November 13.