Facing Samsung and Huawei, Apple is preparing to launch the iPhone 5G to seduce the Asian market
Apple is expected to launch its first range of smartphones equipped with 5G technology on Tuesday, the highly anticipated “iPhone 12”, more than a year after its two rivals Samsung and Huawei. This launch comes at a time when the new generation of mobile telephony takes off, even if it is still far from disrupting everyday life or industries. The American giant is faithful to its “patient” business habits which “Drives the market rather than following it”, notes Stephen Mears, analyst for Futuresource Consulting.
Apple announced its marketing event with a cryptic phrase, “Hi, Speed”, which appears to refer to the speed acceleration promised by 5G. In the areas covered, users notice the difference in the download of content, which is faster. Ultimately, the new telecommunications infrastructures will have applications in fields as varied as autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and connected health. “Last year, the use cases and the deployment of the network were not there yet”, explains Mr. Mears. “In 2020 the situation will not have changed much, but Apple will not want to be two generations behind 5G handsets”.
The deployment of relay antennas is very advanced in some parts of Asia. Major Chinese cities have 5G, and 90% of South Korea’s population lives in serviced areas, according to Futuresource. The firm predicts that sales of smartphones with 5G worldwide will increase from 145 million handsets in 2020 to 303 million in 2021, and 515 million in 2022.
5G, an imperative for the Chinese market
The Californian group has “absolutely need 5G now ”, says Technsponential’s Avi Greengart. “Not for the United States, but for China, where 5G is a determining factor in purchasing ”. Next year, more than half of the devices in China could be equipped with it. “In North America, installations are lagging behind Asian markets, but 5G phone penetration is expected to grow significantly in 2021, up to 70% from 37% in 2020”, says Mears. Trade tensions between Washington and Beijing have delayed deployment in the West, the United States having outlawed the use of Huawei, the leading Chinese infrastructure supplier for 5G.
In addition, American telecom groups, which are already making massive investments, need outlets to justify their spending. The operators ” expect the iPhone with 5G to step on the accelerator in the United States », says Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. The South Korean Samsung and Huawei, the two biggest sellers of smartphones in the world, released their first models with 5G capability in spring-summer 2019. Google, for its part, recently unveiled two new devices from its Pixel brand. also adept at using new waves.
Launch of the decade
According to rumors and experts, Apple could present four iPhone 12 on Tuesday, all with 5G, at base prices between 700 and 1,100 dollars. “Apple and its Asian suppliers anticipate increased demand for the 6.7-inch model”, notes analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. According to him, “IPhone 12 is expected as the launch of the decade”. Tim Cook’s firm could sell more than 75 million devices. The analyst estimates that more than a third of the 950 million iPhones in circulation in the world, or 350 million devices, are likely to be replaced by a newer model in the coming months. “China remains a key ingredient in the success of Apple’s recipe”, he adds, because “20% of replacements will come from this region next year.”
The global smartphone market “collapsed” in the second quarter this year, according to the Canalys firm: it fell 14% to 285 million handsets passed, after a first quarter already in decline. Apple suffered production delays during the pandemic, which disrupted the supply chains of many companies. Its sales nevertheless continued to grow, while those of its two main rivals were down.
The apple brand has also beefed up its services, which make its various devices (phones, tablets, computers, watches, headsets, etc.) more attractive with an ecosystem of platforms for learning, storing data and entertainment. In September, it launched Apple One, a new subscription for streaming, music, video games and its cloud service (remote computing).