Fast, cheap and out of control: Wanting a 5G iPhone

5G might be a thing some time, but it’s not a thing yet.


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The fall iPhones are still months away from being announced so it’s time to start arguing about them.

Writing for Tiger Beat in the Valley, Jeremy Horwitz says “Here’s why an affordable 5G iPhone is the only right move for Apple.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King.)

Personally, The Macalope would like to suggest that giving him a miniature donkey is the the only right move for Apple.

Think about it. It just makes sense.

Miniature donkey.

For me.

Solves a lot of problems. Admittedly, they’re mostly just The Macalope’s problems, but…

5G cellular technology — one of the key transformative technologies of this decade — is a rare example of Apple making an obvious mistake.



Yes, Apple had trouble with locking in supplies of 5G modems, but if it ever suffered because of that, it certainly hasn’t been shown.

Because Apple’s financial performance often defies traditional business logic, I’m not going to say it has no choice in pricing its upcoming 5G phones or that it couldn’t still make plenty of money by simply courting buyers of ultra-premium devices.

Headlines are often written by copy editors instead of the actual author so it’s possible Horwitz himself didn’t actually say it was the “only right move for Apple” and then say there were plenty of other right moves. Let us just say that VentureBeat said that.

Even as a believer in 5G’s potential, I’ll be the first to admit that the technology hasn’t rolled out exactly as expected.

Exactly as who expected?

U.S. and South Korean carriers jousted up until the very last minute to launch the “first” commercial 5G network, but even by the end of last year they hadn’t achieved anything close to comprehensive 5G coverage.

Lots of people were saying that rollout was going to take a while. Now that it has taken a while, people who said it was not going to take a while are saying, “Who could have known it would take a while?!”

One of the key things that makes Apple so broadly misunderstood is an expectation that it will chase every customer and opportunity in the marketplace, coupled with an unfounded belief that it will fail if it doesn’t.

It is a mistake to insist that Apple must do a thing. Let us instead insist that Apple should do a thing.

Well, that’s progress, at least.

But as table stakes expectations shift for smartphones, Apple shouldn’t stand still, even if it seemingly can afford to do so.

The Macalope had a look at Apple’s cash balance and seemingly they can afford to sit at home eating ice cream out of a five gallon tub and surfing TikToks for a year.

As to whether or not Apple made a mistake by not hopping on that 5G train as fast as possible, Daniel Bader notes:

5G is currently a burden, not a feature. It's a tax, a marketing tool, and an artificial heart for a smartphone industry that desperately needs something new to talk about.

That won't always be the case, but it is right now, in 2020. And consumers are being punished for it.

Right now, 5G is an excuse to make users upgrade and pay extra for the privilege. The privilege of owning a feature you might not even be able to use any time soon.

There is very little difference between saying Apple should release a very cheap iPhone to gain market share and that Apple should release a very fast and cheap phone to gain market share. Yes, Apple does make mistakes (good riddance, butterfly keyboard), but so far 5G has not been one of them.

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