16th October 2020
Just a month after its last event, Apple held another this week called ‘Hi Speed’, during which it announced the new iPhone models and the new HomePod Mini device.
Apple unveiled four new iPhones; iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. In addition to upgraded cameras and new A14 Bionic chips, which were announced in the previous Apple event and will also power the iPad Air, all four phones will support 5G – the first iPhone model to do so. The iPhone 12 Pro, for example, will support sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, which means that it will support the different types of 5G networks from all three major US carriers and Apple promised to support a large number of cellular carriers and their 5G networks across the world - claiming to have tested 5G performance with 100 carriers in 30 countries.
Currently, the reach of 5G is limited around the world but it’s expanding and is expected to have a big impact on mobile media through virtual and augmented reality opportunities. The possibilities of 5G are vast, including many AR and VR applications.
The iPhone 12 Pro models will also have a LIDAR sensor in their cameras, which can be used for additional AR effects and helps in low-light situations. The new video and 5G capabilities open up opportunities for brands to create new experiences using the devices. The new tech also opens the door to new creative options which could positively benefit many brands if they choose to enter the AR / VR space, which with greater capability in the handsets and penetration in market could become more important to marketers as part of their arsenal.
The HomePod Mini was also announced in the same event. The HomePod series is Apple’s play in the smart speaker market. As well as Siri’s standard smart home capabilities, the new gadget will have a feature called ‘Intercom’ which lets consumers broadcast a message to all of their HomePods from their other apple devices. The aim is to get consumers to buy multiple units and put them around the house – a similar strategy that Amazon and Google have pursued through Alexa and Google Home.
Additionally, Apple announced its MagSafe technology which allows its devices to automatically snap into place on chargers and also allows for snap-on accessories – opening up another lucrative Apple add-on market. The new iPhones also won’t be shipped with a power adapter or headphones, which Apple claims to be an attempt to reduce its environmental impact.
The impact of 5G on mobile media is yet to be seen but Apple’s new iPhone 12 range means that there will be significantly more handsets ready to take advantage of the technology. The increased speed of 5G networks will mean less latency, which could make a huge impact on the use of AR in media and therefore much better experiences for consumers and better opportunities for brands. Apple will also be hoping that those loyal to its technology will follow the same path as more homes become ‘smart’, although it has significant ground to make up on both Amazon and Google in this space.