Why China could be key to 5G upgrade ‘supercycle’

GUANGZHOU, China — Apple’s iPhone 12 range with 5G connectivity is going to be very important in China and key to achieving what analysts are calling an upgrade “supercycle.”

5G refers to next-generation mobile networks promising super-fast data speeds.

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled four new 5G-capable iPhone models. While 5G networks are in their infancy, China’s networks have been pushing quickly to expand coverage.

That has led to a surge in 5G smartphone sales, particularly from domestic players like Huawei.

Apple is now joining the party, a big move in a market that accounts for around 15% of the U.S. tech giant’s total sales.

“If we look back to (the) second quarter of the year, almost half of the smartphones shipped in China had 5G connectivity,” Will Wong, research manager at IDC, told CNBC. “Among the top 5 vendors in China, Apple was the only one without a 5G model.

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Apple iPhone 12 lineup could lead to 5G ‘supercycle’

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Apple

Apple’s iPhone 12 launch with 5G will complete the smartphone equation to make speedier wireless access a reality in the US. And coverage with broader price points will spur upgrades into 2021.

Analysts are expecting the iPhone 12 family–iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max–to all feature 5G. The models are rumored to cover a wide range of price points including the $400 to $700 range where the growth will be.

Now Android devices have been all over 5G, but Apple represents the 46% of the market in the US, according to Counterpoint Research. In addition, 5G devices have typically been reserved for the premium market until recently.

Apple’s iPhone 12 series will ensure the two leading smartphone platforms are 5G equipped. As a result, analysts are betting on another supercycle for the iPhone, or a once in a decade upgrade cycle.  

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Counterpoint
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