Oh Gee

First, Apple's come a long way from calling carriers "orifices". Without checking, Verizon probably got more stage time than the lidar in the iPhone 12 Pro, where it assists autofocus and plays a big role in magically making photos work out even for people who have never knowingly 3D scanned something in their life.

But more importantly, the sense I've got is that 5G isn't a dud technology but that it really only provides its advantages in areas where it's really well built out. With mmWave, the intense half of the technology, that means literally if you have line of sight to a tower. I can see why they focused on stadiums and NFL, and why Apple picked a carrier who could say "we're now rolling this out for real", to get past any argument that it's been bad until now.

All of the presentation and indeed the product site itself are packed with demonstrations where all of these things will download completely before the touch debounces, before the foot hits the ground, before the next time the hummingbird flaps its wings. It's not just in the flashy montage video – Apple is setting the expectation that this is how life will be with 5G, and that requires that these speeds are realistic and omnipresent and dependable. Either they are right or it will be worse than this.

If they are right, it's a huge leap forward for 5G since it's not the known, measured opinion of anyone with access to a realistic 5G network today, never mind the people in the coverage map's vast shadow. If it's worse, are they going to hide behind people not having Verizon as a carrier, or not being one of the 200 million Americans ostensibly covered by the built-out non-mmWave network? The iPhone is a worldwide product, and even most people in the US don't use Verizon, and for all the US-centricity, these days the experience of using it rarely comes with great big asterisks.

If this all is a great big "fuck you" to AT&T over "5GE", though, good job.

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