When it comes to entering the fifth generation of mobile communications, Apple is actually late. Major competitors such as Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and Motorola have been using their flagship devices for months on the 5G networks.
The Apple customers have so far missed little, because the 5G networks of the mobile phone providers in Germany were still very holey. The expansion of the networks has only made noticeable progress since this summer. With this in mind, Apple has now caught a good time to make its four new iPhone 12 models fit for 5G data transmission.
The users of the new iPhones – and all other 5G smartphones – shouldn’t expect too much at the beginning. At the presentation from Apple Park in Cupertino, CEO Tim Cook promised download speeds of up to 3.5 gigabits per second “under perfect conditions”. Even in the USA, however, this will only be available on a few street corners. In Germany, under good framework conditions, maximum speeds of one gigabit per second can be achieved, experts expect. In the area this value will halve again. But that too is still extremely fast – faster than any DSL landline connection.
In any case, with the iPhone, the performance of the 5G networks will be in the public eye even more than before. Already with LTE, the iPhone helped the new radio technology to break through. Providers can do new business, but will also have to respond to complaints if the 5G network falls short of expectations.
For Apple, 5G is not the only decisive factor in boosting sales of the new iPhone 12 models. Customers should recognize at first glance that they are dealing with a new iPhone: One year after design boss Jony Ive left, Apple dared to change the design – it is a bit more angular again, like the last iPhone 5 Model range in 2017.
Apple’s decision to sell the iPhone without a charger and earbuds for the first time caused a stir on social media. This step will avoid the emission of two million tons of CO2 annually, emphasized Apple – and calculated that this corresponds to the pollution caused by 450,000 cars. The group also takes into account that the smaller and lighter packaging means that 70 percent more boxes can be transported per pallet. This also saves Apple millions and has a small additional business: The separate charger costs a good 24 euros.
The iPhone manufacturer has so far ignored innovative forms of competition such as the folding smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and Motorola. His ideas of innovation can be seen primarily on the two Pro models. The more expensive Pro devices already had one more camera with a telephoto lens. With the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Apple has also implemented image stabilization in which the sensor instead of the lens fluctuates in order to compensate for vibrations. The Pro models can also record and edit particularly high-contrast videos with HDR technology. Apple developed its own RAW format for photographers, which combines rich light information that is important for professionals with software image processing.
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The Pro-iPhones now also have a laser radar (LiDAR), which can also be found in many self-driving cars. This measures distances with an invisible laser beam. For example, the camera can measure the distance to the subject in a dark environment and focus the lens. However, the technology can also be useful for so-called augmented reality. Digital content is mixed with the real environment on the screen.
As before, the iPhone 12 Pro is available in two sizes – but the screens have now been expanded a little. From 5.8 to 6.1 inches for the smaller model and from 6.5 to 6.7 inches for the Pro Max. Apple leaves the starting price at 1120 euros and 1217.50 euros for the larger version.
All four models benefit from an innovation: Thanks to nanotechnology, the display glass of the iPhone 12 should be significantly more resistant than before, as Apple announced. It is four times more likely that the new glass will survive falls unscathed.
In addition to the iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display for a good 876 euros, the standard version is now also a mini model with a 5.4-inch screen for around 780 euros. Other providers such as Samsung cut their model series in a similar way.
A new lens system is supposed to improve the quality of photos in poor light conditions – in addition, the images are improved by software, as is now customary. The computing power of the A14 chip plays a decisive role here.
The new generation of Apple phones was not presented as usual in September because of the Corona crisis. In the spring, when close coordination with the suppliers in China was actually necessary, the Apple engineers could not fly to China. In addition, the production facilities of Foxconn and other Apple partners were closed for weeks.
Apple wants to use a cheaper model to gain more market share in the networked speaker business against rivals like Google and Amazon. The HomePod Mini will cost 96.50 euros in Germany, as the iPhone company announced on Tuesday. With this, Apple goes down to the price level of competing models – while the first HomePod was much more expensive until recently at around 300 euros. The HomePod Mini is round like a small ball – it is the shape that Amazon recently switched to with its successful Echo speakers with the voice assistant Alexa.