Apple Hopes 5G iPhones Will Boost China Sales

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Apple is hoping its new 5G iPhones will help it bridge a gap in sales in China, where it has been beaten out by rivals like Huawei, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

The tech giant’s first 5G-enabled smartphone will be a latecomer in China, as local brands have been offering their own versions ready to use on the country’s established 5G internet networks.

On Tuesday (Oct. 13), Apple rolled out four versions of the iPhone 12 that are capable of connecting to 5G networks, which can access next-level speeds and have been considered the next logical step in the development of internet connectivity.

But in China, the phone wasn’t seen on display at an Apple store in Shanghai. Also absent were any promotional posters, even two days before preorder is scheduled to begin, WSJ reports.

Apple’s new phone launched at a time when China’s economy has been rebounding from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and as the country has become increasingly nationalistic in regards to technology amid trade tensions with the U.S. in recent years.

But some Chinese customers have reported excitement about the first 5G handset from the tech giant. And Apple’s wait to enter the market could have the effect of creating pent-up demand, with Duncan Clark, chairman of investment adviser BDA China, predicting a boost in iPhone sales.

Analysts have said the 5G-capable iPhone will represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Apple, and could drive sales in the coming year. That said, Apple has been later to the game than some rivals, including Samsung, which already boasts multiple 5G-capable devices.

But while 5G is a hot-button trend, the much-touted high speeds may not be in the cards just yet due to limited coverage. Raising the coverage would require widespread building of new base stations. Boris Metodiev, associate director of research firm Strategy Analytics, made the analogy that, for many customers, having 5G right now will be like owning a car that can drive extremely fast, but not being able to go faster than the posted residential neighborhood speed limits, PYMNTS reported.

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