Though it’s been rumoured for several months, it’s now clear that Apple’s iPhone 12 series will only be able to use mmWave 5G in the United States.
Only U.S. version of the smartphone series, including the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max, features a special mmWave antenna on its side. The Canadian iterations of the smartphone series lack this additional antenna. It’s worth noting that the mmWave antenna can only be seen on iPhone 12 marketing images on Apple.com and not Apple.ca.
However, according to PCMag lead analyst Sascha Segan, who spoke to iPhone in Canada, Canadian iPhone 12 smartphones are capable of the n78 5G band (TD 3500), which will likely launch across the country at some point in the next few years.
The Canadian government’s auction for the 3500MHz spectrum band is set for mid-2021 after being delayed roughly six months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
What this means is that despite being positioned as offering a massive jump in network speed, it’s unlikely that Apple’s iPhone 12 series — just like every 5G smartphone currently available in Canada — will actually feature that significant a leap in data speeds.
To be clear, the current Sub-6GHz 5G networks offered by Rogers, Bell and Telus will still feature faster speeds, but only expect a 10 to 15 percent increase depending on where you’re located.
That said, the iPhone 12 series won’t be capable of the far faster, sometimes gigabit and faster mmWave 5G speeds available in limited areas of the United States.
I’ll have more on the iPhone 12 series’ 5G performance in my upcoming review of the smartphones.