By Dafna Tachover, Director, CHD’s 5G and Wireless Harms Project
This year, the big surprise during Apple’s annual mid-September launch event wasn’t what new products they were offering, but what the new products didn’t offer — none of the new Apple devices include 5G compatibility.
A year ago, Apple reached an agreement with Qualcomme to buy its 5G modems and hired all of Intel’s 5G modem department employees. Clearly, the absence of 5G adaptability in its products is not the lack of necessary technology and analysts. So, why didn’t Apple launch its 5G products this fall?
Apple didn’t provide an explanation for its decision, but emphasized that its new products are 60% faster than existing 4G LTE networks.
Usually, Apple’s mid-September launch event is followed by a lot of media coverage, but not this year. The articles were few and far between and most tried to explain the lack of 5G compatibility. Among the reasons mentioned were the lack of real advantage of 5G despite its massive rollout and that 5G technology may cause products to overheat and drain battery life. The disappointment from 5G is evident from numerous media articles and tech experts are discouraging customers from buying 5G phones, calling 5G “a bad joke.”
This year is also the first time Apple didn’t release a new iPhone during its mid-September annual event. In its July report to its investors, Apple stated that the iPhone 12 would not be released before October, and used COVID as the excuse. However, there is no indication when Apple will release the iPhone 12. While there are indications that Apple is intending to release 75 million 5G phones, Apple hasn’t confirmed any of the reports. Could it be that Apple also sees 5G as a failure and has decided to play it safe and wait?