Apple adds 5G to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, mmWave is US-only

    Overnight Apple held it’s virtual launch event for the iPhone 12. The event invites from Apple referenced ‘Hi, Speed’, a clear suggestion that we’d finally see 5G added to the iPhone.

    During the event, Tim Cook revealed the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro that will both include 5G capability, a move that will surely delight network carriers across the globe, that are investing heavily in the rollout of 5G networks.

    While we think of 5G as a single technology, there are really two versions. The first is the regular long-distance 5G, but there’s also a much faster, although more directional spectrum used known as mmWave which Apple confirmed is supported in the iPhone 12.

    Unfortunately, Apple said this will only be supported in the US (at least for now), but did manage peak download speeds in ideal conditions of 4.0Gbps. By comparison, Telstra announced in September they had achieved 4.2Gbps using 5G mmWave technology.

    In typical conditions, Apple says they measured 1.0 Gbps which is still an incredible leap forward from what’s available with 4G. Only once we have serious 5G adoption will really know how much the shared networking effect reduces those speeds.

    Currently, Aussie telcos are testing mmWave, however, the Australian spectrum that powers this is set to go to auction in March 2021.

    As a consumer, Apple says the benefits of 5G will be:

    • Faster downloads and uploads
    • Higher quality video streams
    • More responsive gaming
    • Real time interactivity
    • Low-latency
    • Higher network speeds, even in crowded environments

    As we know Apple regularly promotes itself as being strong on security. With the introduction of 5G Cook detailed the iPhone 12 as being more secure, as a result of connecting securely to the cellular network, rather than using public wifi hotspots.

    Traditionally 5G’s faster speeds came at a cost of battery life, however, Apple says they’ll intelligently use 5G depending on your use. This means if you are browsing the web or social media, you may actually be using 4G most of the time. Fire up a game or a video stream and it would then switch to the highest connectivity – 5G.

    iPhone 12 Pro

    Not only does the iPhone 12 Pro feature 5G speed, but it also picks up Apple’s new A14 Bionic processor (5Nm, 1.8 billion transistors), the fastest chip in a smartphone.

    There’s a new chasis design that features a lot better screen-to-body ratio, with smaller bezels.

    We’re now moving from Gorilla Glass to something Apple are calling a Ceramic Shield, which they claim is the strongest glass in a phone (will likely still break).

    On the back, the camera array changes again this year to make way for a new LiDAR Scanner for more realistic AR. The Pro camera system is also optimised for low light and pushed even further on iPhone 12 Pro Max.

    The iPhone 12 Pro comes in both a Pro (6.1″) starting at A$1,699 and Pro Max (6.7″) starting at A$1,849 for the 128GB models. That jumps to A$2,219 and A$2,369 for the 512GB version respectively.

    iPhone 12 Pro is available for pre‑order on 16.10, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max pre‑order goes live on 7.11.

    iPhone 12

    The smaller iPhone 12 also comes with that improved 5G speed. It also features the same A14 Bionic processor as found in the Pro.

    The new design features an Edge‑to‑edge OLED display and that new, harder Ceramic Shield.

    Apple is offering the iPhone 12 in two sizes, both an iPhone 12 mini (5.4″) and the iPhone 12 (6.1″) .

    The iPhone 12 pre‑orders begin on 16.10, with the iPhone 12 mini pre‑order a little later, on 7.11.

    Prices start at A$1,199 for the iPhone 12 Mini and A$1,349 for the iPhone 12 with 64GB of storage. This increases to A$1,449 and A$1,599 respectively.

    Given those prices are still out of reach for many, Apple will keep some of their previous phones in the lineup, with the iPhone SE remaining the cheapest iPhone at A$679.

    Typically we’d be able compare prices to last year’s models, however there’s a significant change in the box this year.

    Apple says, ss part of our efforts to reach their environmental goals, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro Max do not include a power adapter or EarPods.

    By now, Apple is expecting iPhone owners to already have an existing Apple power adapter and headphones, if you don’t, you’ll need to purchase these accessories separately. You will get a USB-C to Lightning cable, so charging from your laptop is an option.

    Sadly there’s still no USB-C on the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro. This feels a little strange given Apple has made the move on their iPad products.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


    1. Will an iphone 12 with mmwave technology bought in USA work in Australia on current bands and when mmwave is introduced to Australia or will Aplple block the above USA purchased phones from operating in Australia? Will Australian SIM cards work on the above USA phones
      If this would not work I wont be getting a new iphone 12 until it does
      Very short sighted of Apple and very annoying .Maybe buy a competitor?

      • Nice idea, but no, we can’t get around it like that. In theory the phone has the largest number of bands, but at least at launch, you won’t be able to get mmWave on the iPhone 12 in Australia. You will get regular 5G which is still dramatically faster, but from the keynote, it sounds like they’ll do some aggressive battery management that means you’ll spend most of your time on 4G unless you’re doing a demanding task that requires 5G. This is an effort to save dollars.

      • I’ve just ordered a US iPhone which will be forwarded by AusPost and should be here in a few weeks. To me it doesn’t make sense to spend $1300 on a phone which will definitely be out of date in 1 year once mmwave rolls out in Aus. Everything I’ve read suggests that a US bought iPhone will still work in Aus.

    2. But if we want to future proof our purchase could we buy from the US apple website using a freight forwarder and then have a 5g MMwave phone ready for when it launched here in a year or so, rather than having to wait another year or buy now and upgrade again in a year?

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