I have been, minus a one-year disaster into Android, an iPhone user since 2011. I can honestly say the device powers my work routine and personal life and is essentially attached to me at all times. Heck, I fall asleep listening to my favorite podcasts almost every single night.
My current iPhone, an iPhone 8, has served me well for almost two years now—and I am really leery on giving it up.
That is, until I can get my hands on a new iPhone 12 armed and ready to jump on a 5G network. I have held out until I can make the jump onto what could be gigabit level speeds, low latency times and a more pleasing smartphone experience. Combine that with a faster overall iPhone, and my devotion to Apple smartphones seems only set to grow in the years to come.
But will all customers who enjoy the iPhone now feel the same? Could there be issues with iPhone 12 meeting customers’ expectations?
One thing I worry about is the misinformation that will surely come about not only with this new phone, but with 5G in general. First, and this should be obvious, you won’t get 5G speeds if you aren’t on a 5G network, nor if your provider does not offer 5G service where you live when iPhone 12 roles out. I can just see countless people heading to their favorite Apple store or wireless carrier, signing up and shilling out a $1,000 or more, taking their new phone home and wondering why their internet speeds aren’t any better?
Here is where in-store retail education will be key—or not. Customer service and sales reps should be telling customers that, yes, their new iPhone 12 will be amazing and will no doubt win over many new features and a better experience. But if there is no 5G where they are they won’t see the game-changing performance that many are expecting. Of course, salespeople will be salespeople, and I worry that their silence to get a sale may create a slow but steady customer backlash if not properly handled.
The good news is that all of the various cellular companies seem poised in the next few months to make big strides in 5G rollouts before the rumored launch of the new iPhone. Also, with 5G phones other than iPhone already out in the marketplace, consumers are getting an education already, learning that the promise of 5G is not reality—at least for now.
A careful approach by Apple and the big telecommunications providers with lots of customer education would be key. Remember, there are those on AT&T’s network who think they already have 5G. Let’s try and avoid another situation like that, please.
Harry J. Kazianis is a Senior Director at the Center for the National Interest and Executive Editor of their publishing arm, the National Interest. His work and ideas have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, USA Today, The Week, The Hill, the American Conservative and many other outlets across the political spectrum. Harry enjoys writing about technology issues and products from a real-world perspective, having previously worked in the telecommunications industry from 2000-2011. You can follow him (or yell at him) on Twitter: @Grecianformula.