Rumors Already Predicting big things for the iPhone 12: 5G plus Starlink will only Add to the Furor…
Seems like just yesterday that Apple Inc. released the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Consumers are still riding high on the hype and performance of these latest smartphone models. Nevertheless, Apple is already looking to the future and creating estimates for the iPhone 12 in 2020. According to Digitimes, Apple expects that the iPhone 12 will be one of the company’s most successful models.
While the 11 and 11 Pro are expected to have sold 80 million units by the end of 2019, Apple predicts that they will receive over 100 million orders for the 12 next year.
Apple anticipates such high figures for the iPhone 12 in part due to oncoming innovations in 5G and satellite Internet. While the software and hardware details of the new phone remain shrouded in mystery for now, there is high confidence that the device will be built for the latest advances in Internet speed and 5G networking—a powerful upgrade that is bound to bring in many customers.
Right now, the term “satellite Internet” may seem like something slow, old-fashioned, and used only by people living in remote locations where traditional broadband sources are unavailable. This may be the case at the moment, but new technology known as “Low Earth Orbit” micro-satellites could bring satellite Internet access with fiber optic speeds and beyond. Constellations of these micro-satellites could not only deliver the internet to more people around the world, they could potentially reinvent satellite Internet as a high-speed and perhaps even premiere way for virtually all people to get online.
Many tech companies have been trying to perfect micro-satellites and get the upper hand and dominate the skies. Leading the charge is Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which intends to cover the stratosphere with thousands of low-orbit satellites through its StarLink initiative. The company has already gotten approval by the FCC to launch several thousand micro-satellites into the sky, and they intend to keep launching more until they have a massive interconnected network of satellites orbiting the globe.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson & OneWeb, Google, and Facebook are all playing competitive catch up with SpaceX on the micro-satellite front. Jeff Bezos has been pursuing Project Kuiper, a satellite-oriented task which aims to provide worldwide broadband access via space. While certainly not as far along as StarLink, Kuiper plans to have hundreds of satellites in the sky in the near future.
Google has an alternative route to Low Earth Orbit micro-satellites, relying on weather balloons with antennas to stand in for cell towers and provide service to greater areas—an initiative that the company has coined “Loon.” Simultaneously, Facebook tried to make headway with its “FreeBasics” project, whereby the social network also wants to get more people active and connected on the web, and, of course, logged into its Social Network.
5G Speeds will be the Big Upgrade but the extended Competition and Coverage of Satellites are Next
After purchasing Intel’s 5G modem unit earlier this year, and with 5G modems by Qualcom already widely expected to be in the iPhone 12, Apple is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of this looming expansion of mobile data networks and satellite internet access points.
It’s important to remember that 5G and satellite internet both have the potential to be much faster than current broadband connections. However, the roll out timing is uncertain and the speed increases will depend on various systems and stages of network build as well as many other factors. For example, an ultra fast satellite system is being built by LeoSat which will be used by Enterprise level customers at up 5.2 Gigabits, close to double the speed of fiber, but this will be exclusively business users, at least initially.
It is the sheer breath of competition and the wide array of systems in the mix that insures that there will be more options, and more speed coming online by 2021. Not only for mobile phones but for mobile laptops and as wireless home and business routing systems also.
What all this means, in a nutshell, for Apple, is that more people will want to buy smartphones that are capable of accessing these newer, faster internet providers. If StarLink (or any of the other upcoming satellite services) can provide a greater fraction of the world with Internet access, more people will desire the latest devices to make full use that Internet. Likewise, these consumers will also want the device that is most compatible with 5G and micro-satellite technology.
Given Apple’s record, the company will probably release the iPhone 12 in September, 2020. 5G will already be in an ongoing build-out phase, with T-mobil launching on December 6, 2019 and Verizon, AT&T and Sprint already in the mix. StarLink will likely not be up and ready by that time—they are aiming for an initial roll out to start as early as mid 2020 and with continuous expansion to 2022 and beyond. However, the project will certainly be further along in becoming a worldwide sensation, with launches of multiple satellites happening every few months.
With 5G speed, and an Operating System fit for the latest forms access in its arsenal, and with the fastest chips and most powerful software and systems to accommodate the added bandwidth, the iPhone 12 has the potential to be a blockbuster of historic proportions, even by Apple’s high standards.
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