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Apple is banking on 5G being a really big hit with iPhone customers next year, with sources saying that the company expects to sell over 100 million iPhone 12s thanks to pent-up demand for the faster technology.
According to DigiTimes (via 9to5Mac), Apple has told its Asian supply chain partners to get ready to produce over 100 million iPhones next year, giving them time to prepare for what will be at least a 25 percent increase from this year’s projected sales.
To put these numbers in perspective, Apple is only expecting the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro combined to sell around 80 million units this year, which represents the same trend of an annual increase of about 5 percent that we’ve seen over the past few years. Apple doesn’t release specific unit sales numbers for the iPhone any more, but analysts can do the math on sales revenue to generally get some pretty good ballpark estimates.
So a jump by 25 percent is pretty huge, however Apple is expecting demand for its first 5G iPhones to be driven not only by the 5G “super cycle” but also by some pretty significant hardware upgrades and design changes, which are expected to shake things up a bit as well.
The Ultimate 5G Smartphone
We also already know that Apple isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to delivering 5G support in next year’s iPhones. They’re expected to feature the best Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon X55, which will not only provide the fastest possible 5G speeds, but also the widest range of coverage, with support for both the mmWave and sub-6 GHz standards, along with an adaptive antenna array that should provide more reliable signal quality. After all, there’s a good reason why Apple is waiting to produce a 5G iPhone — it’s more concerned about it being “good” than merely about it being “first.”
Analysts have also already predicted that Apple will dominate the 5G smartphone market next year, so sales of 100 million units may not be as far of a reach as it would seem. While Samsung is currently the leader in 5G smartphones, this year’s models have been on the unproven bleeding-edge of the new technology and therefore haven’t really delivered on the kind of 5G performance that many users have been hoping for. Apple will undoubtedly benefit from this loss of confidence in Samsung’s 5G implementation, along with the U.S. ban on the smartphones from its only other mainstream 5G competitor, Huawei.
At this point, analysts estimate that only 15 million 5G smartphones have been shipped worldwide, with demand thin due to the higher cost of 5G handsets and the relatively limited availability of the technology. By next year, however, 5G networks are expected to be much more widely deployed, with carriers like T-Mobile launching a basic 5G network nationwide next month and AT&T bringing even faster actual 5G service to several major cities.
Apple isn’t just expecting to capitalize on 5G with next year’s iPhone, however, which will also likely feature radically new deisgns, a new 3D laser camera system, improved display technology, and a lot more. It looks like 2020 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for the iPhone.