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iPhone 12 release date might not be until 2021 because of problems with 5G

iPhone 12 release date might not be until 2021 because of problems with 5G
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is known for its September iPhone announcement schedule, with the advent of fall each year bringing fresh excitement for the latest Apple tech. However, it appears that things might be a little different this year. According to new rumors, there are claims that the iPhone 12's release date might be as late as 2021 due to issues with 5G. 

However, this isn't the only juicy iPhone 12 rumor we've heard recently. There's also talk that we could be expecting four iPhone 12 products later this year, rather than the standard three that we've become accustomed to. Plus, rather than following the usual release schedule pattern, these products could be staggered throughout the year.

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In September 2019, Apple released the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max all at the same time. However, according to Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), while all four phones might be announced in September, we might have to wait until 2021 to see at least one of the iPhone 12 models.

With the current global situation, it wouldn't have been surprising if this delay was solely due to the impact of coronavirus. However, Kuo advises that it's actually mainly to do with producing a 5G-capable phone. All iPhone 12 models are expected to support 5G connectivity, but not all 5G signals are the same. 

To greatly simplify the matter, we can break down 5G into two main categories – sub-6GHz and mmWave. While both can theoretically provide faster speeds than 4G, mmWave is meant to be lightning fast – apparently even comparable to fibre optic speeds. However, mmWave doesn't transmit as far as sub-6GHz and can apparently even be blocked by a user's hand. This presumably means that ensuring your device can pick up mmWave signals as efficiently as possible is of paramount importance to all 5G phone manufacturers. (To read more on this fascinating topic, check out this helpful article from Root Metrics).

Apparently, the reason at least one of the iPhone 12 models will be delayed is reportedly due to difficulties Apple encountered designing the antenna for the mmWave-capable iPhone 12. "The mmWave iPhone will be pushed back because the design of the antenna in package (AiP) changes in early April. Additionally, the test lab is closed and can't offer qualification process services." 

Whether this means that only one of the iPhone 12 models will be capable of mmWave technology (presumably the premium model) or not isn't totally clear. However, we're sure that as September rolls closer we'll start to see even more interesting leaks spring forth.

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.