Apple brought all its usual marketing hyperbole to today’s unveiling of its latest iPhones, with breathless exclamation for new colors, chip speed and the ceramic cover that Apple promises will be less breakable. And if you thought Lidar was something in a self-driving car, think again! The Pro line of new iPhones also have it, to beef up augmented reality.
But the real superlatives were reserved for the new 5G wireless speeds, which all four of Apple’s new devices are equipped with. How consumers react will be telling. The shifts to both 3G and 4G were hugely important for spurring people to upgrade their smartphones. Phone makers could use that lift right now—shipments were flat last year and down meaningfully in the first half of the year, thanks to Covid. But 5G might not have as much impact as past upgrades. For one thing, the networks are far from ready, and what 5G signals are available don’t necessarily offer more than 4G speeds.