Editorial: Here's why the 'iPhone 11' will do fine, despite no 5G

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 21
While rumors and speculation suggest the 2019 iPhones may not necessarily be a worthwhile upgrade versus older models or worth buying prior to 5G, the vast majority of existing iPhone owners are still interested in upgrading to the 'iPhone 11.'

An early render of the triple camera setup of the 2019 iPhones, via OnLeaks and CashKaro
An early render of the triple camera setup of the 2019 iPhones, via OnLeaks and CashKaro


A survey by smartphone and electronics buyback firm Decluttr suggests analyst expectations on consumer behavior for the iPhone 11 may be an underestimation. According to the survey of 2,003 smartphone owners at the start of August, 82% of consumers claimed the speculation and rumors of a lack of updates to the iPhone 11 "hasn't changed their intent to purchase," or became more interested in purchasing the models. The remaining 18% were swayed by the rumors, making them less inclined towards the new releases.

Of the features predicted to be on the way, half of respondents were looking forward towards the iPhone adopting a triple-lens camera on the back, while 26% were intrigued by improvements to the Taptic engine.

Pricing remains a major factor in whether or not consumers upgrade to the newest model. Approximately 19% of consumers are willing to pay more than $1,000 for a smartphone, with 82% saying they could pay between $500 and $1,000. The price sensitivity could affect the sales of upper-tier models if they are priced into four figures, or could push more consumers towards acquiring the cheaper iPhone XR replacement.

Image Credit: Decluttr.com
Image Credit: Decluttr.com


Thought more to be a part of the 2020 iPhones than the 2019 models, 5G is a major feature that is still being misunderstood by iPhone users. A previous survey in July revealed many iPhone owners believed they already owned a 5G-compatible device, with the new survey indicating misinterpretation of what 5G does is still rife.

Of iPhone users surveyed, 64% either didn't know when 5G was coming to an Apple device, or believe it is already available to use. Only 9% were aware of the difference between 5G and 5GE, AT&T's name for its improved network in some locations.

Further emphasizing the point that there is mass consumer confusion about 5G, the survey found that about 28% of people had the impression 5G will increase data storage space on their devices, and 16% thought 5G improves screen resolution.

Ultimately, only 25% of those surveyed agree it was important to own a smartphone with 5G, whereas a vague "faster performance" need remained the most important feature improvement at 64%.

The takeaway

Analysts have been keen to forecast middling sales of the 2019 iPhones, with proclamations the new models will, aside from having a triple-camera setup on the back, largely consist of a specifications bump from the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. There has even been the suggestion that the 2019 models will "lack novelty" for consumers, which won't help it increase sales over previous years.

At the same time, speculation for the 2020 iPhones propose they will offer a far bigger change, including the use of exciting new technologies like a Time of Flight 3D sensor on the rear as well as a smaller notch. More importantly, the addition of 5G to the models is believed to be a major factor, and could lead to higher sales.

There is no data in the provided survey in regards to technical competence, and it appears to be a general consumer survey. This is in stark contrast to the profoundly tech-savvy AppleInsider audience. As such, the survey is a better cross-section of the "average" iPhone-wielding US consumer in regards to the cell phone purchase cycle than readers here are.

And, this technical knowledge gap is willingly aggravated and leveraged by the carriers, AT&T in particular. This is borne out by conversations that the AppleInsider staff is having in the lead-up to new iPhones not just with our regular readers but a larger Apple-using population as well.

There will certainly be a subset of consumers that may wait for any given technology on the iPhone. Specifically, that 5% that knew the difference between 5GE and 5G will wait, and those that know what time of flight sensors can do.

But, beyond 5G network unavailability across most of the US, the vast majority of US consumers don't know or don't care about 5G, because photography or other uses are more important to them. And, next year is next year, and not now.

Price may be a bit of a barrier, as it always has been. But, the lack of 5G or other future technologies won't be a stopping point.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Count me among those who don't give a crap about 5G that won't be available in my market for another couple of years, at least, anyway.  I'm 3 model years behind, and I don't know yet whether I will update this year or not,  My iPhone 7 is still going strong, despite the battery fading.  If I don't upgrade, I might change the battery.
    JWSCrazorpitStrangeDaysalphafoxhammeroftruthMplsPmacseekerCloudTalkinlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 48
    It will be interesting.  I believe the new Note 10 5G is coming out with the x55 modem, which integrates 5G, LTE, 3G and 2G into a single smaller chip.  If it was available in time for the planning of the next iPhone, then it would be good to see it incorporated.  However, it still requires additional antenna's, and with the Apple/Qualcomm settlement not happening until earlier this year I just don't see it being included.  I don't think it as a deal breaker personally as I am on WIFI 90% of the time, but if someone has a newer iPhone it might behoove them to wait until next year.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 48
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,672member
    Ironic that AT&T’s deliberate deception with the ‘5GE’ label may actually persuade people not to upgrade their phone to a 5G model.

    Yes, the biggest reason will be 5G doesn’t matter. To quote a tech blogger I heard yesterday, “that’s what new technology does: It makes big promises that take longer than promised to arrive, are never as good as promised and bring with them a host of unintended consequences.” Every single mobile network upgrade we’ve seen has followed this pattern. I can’t believe how people still fall for the promises for 5G. 

    5G will come. It will take longer than advertised and be slower than advertised, not quite do everything people promise it will and will eventually be used for other things that we aren’t considering. I’ll be enjoying the show from my easy chair.
    JWSClolliverFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 48
    FolioFolio Posts: 639member
    The biggest question for me of 2019: how many defections from troubled Huawei phones, especially in Europe, will Apple pick up? Quite an opportunity for a mass conversion if Apple creates right incentives.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 48
    I’m at a point with the 512GB Xs Max that only 1TB storage would motivate me to upgrade to a new iPhone. I’ve only got 60GB storage left. But performance of the Bluetooth 5 Xs Max is as fast as I’ll ever want or need.

    On the other hand, with a noticeably slow Bluetooth 4.2 Series 3 WATCH I’m very excited to be buying a new much faster Bluetooth 5 Series 5 next month. This could be the WATCH that I can keep for more than 2 years without missing whatever hardware improvements are coming in future years unless a much longer lasting battery arrives in future which I hope will be the case.
    edited August 21 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 48
    So the survey is done by a company that specializes in buyback of OLD phones, whose customers have already decided their old phone is TOO old and wants to update?
    The article doesn't say of those who were part of the survey, whether they were random people outside of the Declutter base, or not.  Seems like a biased survey if they just surveyed their own customers or wanna-be customers.

    Despite what the survey says, the tipping point for buying a new phone or not is the bottom line.  Everyone wants a shiny new phone...but clicking the "Place Order" button with a >$1000 price tag, plus taxes, plus activation/upgrade fees and no loyalty discounts makes many (like myself) just close my browser.




    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 48
    GG1GG1 Posts: 276member
    Count me among those who don't give a crap about 5G that won't be available in my market for another couple of years, at least, anyway.  I'm 3 model years behind, and I don't know yet whether I will update this year or not,  My iPhone 7 is still going strong, despite the battery fading.  If I don't upgrade, I might change the battery.
    Count me in, also. I'll wait a few years. I'll probably upgrade my 6s to one of this year's models, though.
    hammeroftruthlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,204member
    Folio said:
    The biggest question for me of 2019: how many defections from troubled Huawei phones, especially in Europe, will Apple pick up? Quite an opportunity for a mass conversion if Apple creates right incentives.
    Samsung had trade-in offers for Huawei devices from day one of U.S attempts to derail them. I can imagine some people taking the offers but not that many. More problematic are new sales. That's a different story for Europe and there will be an impact for sure.

    The Mate 30 Series will supposedly ship the day after the iPhone (all rumours) and will be a strong upgrade to the already strong flagship series. There may even be an on SoC multimode 5G Kirin 990 and very likely DaVinci cores in there too.

    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1335048

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/14756/hot-chips-live-blogs-huawei-da-vinci-architecture

    There are rumours of VR/AR glasses too.

    Lots of rumours I know but for next month so not long to wait in any case.

    Current iPhones would be a step down for Huawei flagship users. At lower levels buyers are more price sensitive and Apple miscalculated in that area (price) IMO.

    I think we'll see pricing adjusted down.



    edited August 21
  • Reply 9 of 48
    5G infrastructure will be quite rare for a year or so.  What's the rush to own a 5G smartphone when there are so few 5G cell towers.  What's really amusing is how a person can blow through their monthly data cap in just a couple of minutes while using 5G.  Although 5G may be useful for many things, it seems rather overkill for a smartphone when it comes to downloading.  A person could run out of space rather quickly downloading a season's worth of video content.  From the early videos I've seen where people had 5G smartphones, the range of 5G is quite short and the smartphone is usually jumping back and forth between 4G and 5G.  That's not something worth having if you're going to pay a premium for it.

    In another year or two, the infrastructure might be in place, but for now, I don't think to have a 5G smartphone is worth it.  I just don't see why some people are making such a big deal out of having 5G  4GLTE is quite speedy.  5G may be a good thing but I don't need it because most of the places I go to always have WiFi and I don't do any financial transactions on public WiFi.  I'm sure all the smartphone companies will be shouting about the benefits of their own 5G smartphones but consumers are unlikely to see those advertised 5G speeds unless they're standing under a 5G cell tower.  If they walk around the block and a building is between them and the 5G cell tower, the data rate will immediately slow down or the smartphone will drop back to 4G.  I'm not saying that's bad.  I'm just saying I don't think it's worth owning a 5G smartphone in the U.S. just yet.

    Tech-heads are always in a rush to get the latest features because they have money to throw away on the latest devices.  Most consumers don't feel that way.
    alphafoxlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 48
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,011member
    Count me among those who don't give a crap about 5G that won't be available in my market for another couple of years, at least, anyway.  I'm 3 model years behind, and I don't know yet whether I will update this year or not,  My iPhone 7 is still going strong, despite the battery fading.  If I don't upgrade, I might change the battery.
    Can't blame you for staying on the 7. I'd still be on my 6S if it weren't for the improvements to the camera. Having younger kids that zoom lens is nice. It finally got to the point where I wanted it, but didn't necessarily need it. With that said, FaceID was a welcomed feature. Again not a sole reason to upgrade.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 48
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,584member
    But, beyond 5G network unavailability across most of the US, the vast majority of US consumers don't know or don't care about 5G, because photography or other uses are more important to them. And, next year is next year, and not now.
    This.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,411member
    Lack of, of inclusion of 5G has no influence over my decision making, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what the wide-angle lens mode looks like. The biggest negative on the new phones for me is still the decision to eliminate the physical Home button. 
  • Reply 13 of 48
    I’m at a point with the 512GB Xs Max that only 1TB storage would motivate me to upgrade to a new iPhone. I’ve only got 60GB storage left. But performance of the Bluetooth 5 Xs Max is as fast as I’ll ever want or need.

    On the other hand, with a noticeably slow Bluetooth 4.2 Series 3 WATCH I’m very excited to be buying a new much faster Bluetooth 5 Series 5 next month. This could be the WATCH that I can keep for more than 2 years without missing whatever hardware improvements are coming in future years unless a much longer lasting battery arrives in future which I hope will be the case.
    Have you not thought about subscribing to a higher iCloud subscription, it works out a lot cheaper to buy the lowest storage phone and pay for a larger iCloud subscription if you upgrade yearly at least.
    lolliverFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 48
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,204member
    5G is likely to have a faster deployment than any other generation before it and industrial uses will be a driving factor.

    Not sure if this map is accurate but might be worth checking from time to time:

    https://www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map


  • Reply 15 of 48
    Ha!

    For everyone who thinks you will miss the home button...YOU WON’T!!!

    Any time I use a device now that has one it seems completely backwards.  The new gestures are better and you’ll get used to it almost immediately.

    I agree that the 7 is still a great phone...but man...my Xs Max is SO MUCH BETTER!!!
    alphafoxhammeroftruthn2itivguyroundaboutnowlolliverFileMakerFellerwatto_cobrallama
  • Reply 16 of 48
    alphafoxalphafox Posts: 124member
    The frequency’s used in 5G are so high that placing yourself between the tower and antenna blocks most of the signal. Forget about indoor use of 5G, I don’t really see the point.  
    davgreglolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 48
    Lack of, of inclusion of 5G has no influence over my decision making, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what the wide-angle lens mode looks like. The biggest negative on the new phones for me is still the decision to eliminate the physical Home button. 
    Have you tried an iPhone with no home button?
    Its really not that hard to adjust to. 
    If you buy your phones from the Apple store, you can always return it within 2 weeks for a full refund. Just don’t trade in your phone yet. You can always come back and trade in your old iPhone or return the new one if you hate swiping up instead of pressing the home button. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 48
    I just want a phone that can make phone calls
    bigtds
  • Reply 19 of 48
    RajkaRajka Posts: 22member
    I won't be purchasing an iPhone 11. I currently boycott Apple simply because I do not like what it is today, just another behemoth corporation that focuses primarily on shareholder greed rather than its customers. I boycott Apple because that is my best vote, or non-vote in this case. I will, however, continue to buy Apple products (for now) but only for replacement with an Apple device that dies; and then I will purchase the least expensive model. My boycott will last until Apple embraces the core values cultivated by Steve Jobs. Jobs was not perfect, but he demanded from Apple excellence. He dictated that Apple should deliver the very best user experience possible for a modest premium, the so called Apple tax. I agreed with this model and was passionate for Apple for decades, gladly proselytizing Apple at every opportunity. Today, I'm angry with Apple at times and meh at best. I don't expect things to change under Tim Cook. In fact, I expect things to continue to worsen, even as Apple's fortunes rise. But I have hope for his successor. Time will tell. In the meantime, maybe two guys in a garage are building the next great thing and I can jump the platform ship.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    Since Samsung dropped the other shoe and announced a Note with 5G for $1300, the complaining about a 5G iPhone has gone silent. 

    There are large number of iPhone 6 owners who have not upgraded yet and will want iOS 13 and won’t be able to get it on their old phone. They are the ones that will initially ramp up the numbers after launch. 

    Even though there are large numbers of consumers who balk at a $1k iphone, there will be a sub 1k iphone that will appeal to them. The XR is one of the most successful X series iPhone because of its features and price point. So whether they keep it or replace it with a new model, it will continue to sell faster than the higher end XS and XS Max lines. 
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
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