Pundits fight it out: Who's right about the iPhone 11's lack of 5G?

Hi, there, it’s Bogdan. I’ll be your host today as Tristan is away island hopping. No, I am not jealous at all.

5G on the iPhone: Who’s right about it?

  • Mark Gurman is a reporter for Bloomberg and one of the top sources of unannounced information on products from Apple, Samsung and more. Last Thursday he tweeted:
  • “I’ve seen a short-sighted meme from the usual suspects that the iPhone 11 is fine without 5G support because the U.S. doesn’t have much 5G coverage. Remember: People now keep phones for 3 years, and 5G will be strong in key markets within 12 months, including China and the U.S.”
  • Note the dig at the “usual suspects” – unnamed industry followers who, more often than not, vocally support Apple’s product decisions.
  • Gurman’s argument is that, just because 5G isn’t big now, it’s not going to stay small for long.
  • Current 5G deployments are mere teasers for what’s to come. But that’s changing fast. As soon as next year, major carriers in the U.S. and worldwide will have extensive 5G networks in place.
  • In China, a major market for Apple, the deployment will be helped by affordable 5G devices from Huawei, Xiaomi, and others. Huawei’s mid-range specialist Honor may put out a $500 5G phone by the end of the year.
  • 5G seems poised to reverse a global market decline, but Apple is giving competitors a head start. And it comes at a time when people hold on to their phones for longer and longer.

But, but, but

  • Gurman’s take spurred lots of counterarguments. iMore’s Rene Ritchie put out a short video where he sums them up.
  • (He too takes a shot at unnamed “salty pseudo-analysts” who’ve panned the iPhone 11’s lack of 5G.)
  • Ritchie mentions the currently miniscule 5G deployments, the inherent infrastructure challenges, and the fact that phones with 5G get very hot, lack stable connections, and tend to run out of battery in mere hours.
  • Ritchie sums it up: “More expensive, bigger, uglier, more compromised variants, with little long term value for customers, and none of the strategic or financial ROI… So yeah, no one, no one who doesn’t want to short Apple stock, work in network testing, or just feed off negative attention wants any part of ragging on the iPhone for not having 5G right now.”

So, who’s right?

  • I am copping out here, but I see both sides’ arguments. Apple is giving competitors a year-long window of opportunity to stake a claim in 5G. That’s a very long time in the tech industry.
  • That said, all the arguments about why 5G doesn’t make sense today are correct, and Apple has always been happy to leave competitors to fight it out while it builds more moats around its business.
  • I guess we’ll see in a year?

Round Up:

Monday Meme

Is this a meme? I don't know, but let's call it a meme shall we? Via r/CommedyHeaven

I for one will definitely take advantage of this offer to learn how to pink.

Thanks, friends!

Bogdan

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