Verizon may be launching its “nationwide” 5G network as soon as tomorrow, to sync up with the iPhone 12 launch event, according to new 5G tests we did in Chicago and posters on the Verizon subreddit.
Tomorrow’s iPhone 12 launch is anticipated to include up to four 5G phones, and Verizon is far behind AT&T and T-Mobile on 5G coverage. (That’s a render of one of the new iPhones, above.) According to our 26-city Fastest Mobile Networks tests, Verizon had 3.5 percent 5G availability earlier this summer, as opposed to 38.5 percent for AT&T and 54.2 percent for T-Mobile.
That’s because Verizon chose a fast, but hard-to-build 5G system, called high-band or millimeter-wave, which has very short range. In our tests, Verizon’s millimeter-wave system was much faster than the other two carriers’, but it didn’t carry.
Low-band 5G, on the other hand, lets carriers light up a “5G” icon on lots of phones but delivers essentially 4G performance. AT&T and T-Mobile both focused on low-band 5G to get that indicator lit up. In AT&T’s case, the carrier used a very narrow low-band channel, resulting in a 5G network that (according to our tests) was actually slower than its 4G network.
Verizon doesn’t want to lose the marketing game, though, so it plans to activate dynamic spectrum sharing, or DSS, which flips some of its 4G channels over to 5G to turn on that 5G icon for many people. If the capability is on enough of its low-band towers, Verizon’s 5G could quickly span the nation.
Testing Verizon 5G throughout Chicago on Oct. 11, we saw a “5G” icon appear on one of our phones, without the usual “UWB,” which signifies Verizon’s high-band 5G network. We ran speed tests when the “5G” icon appeared, within the Loop, in River North, along Lake Shore Drive, and on the North Side.
Here’s where we saw the ‘5G’ icon appear in Chicago.
According to posts on Reddit, the low-band 5G icon can appear on Verizon phones that have the Android 11 beta loaded. We have that loaded on some of our phones. Also according to a post on Reddit, the network uses frequency band n5. That’s the original 850Mhz cellular band which has been in use since the 1980s, and it has excellent range. AT&T is using the same band for its poorly-performing nationwide 5G.
Existing 5G phones released after February 2020 should have DSS capabilities. It’s unclear whether they’ll need an update to Android 11 to get them, though, which could delay its arrival on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 series. While Samsung said it intends to launch an Android 11 update for the Galaxy S20 series this year, that could be any time this year.
How Fast Is Verizon’s Nationwide 5G?
Pre-launch, DSS 5G isn’t impressive, but it doesn’t have the airwaves to pull it off. The chart below compares the DSS 5G speeds we got with the 4G and 5G speeds we found during the Chicago phase of our Fastest Mobile Networks tests earlier this summer.
5G DSS speeds from October 11; 4G and 5G mmWave speeds from late July.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the 5G being slower than 4G yet. This is pre-launch and either our devices or the network may not have been fully configured. But I think 5G being the same speed as 4G is more relevant, because DSS 5G is really just a shell game. You get faster speeds when you add spectrum to a carrier’s pool. The power of 5G comes from its ability to use wider channels than 4G—up to 100MHz each where 4G channels max out at 20MHz.
DSS simply shifts some existing 4G channels to 5G when they aren’t being used by 4G phones. So you’re going to end up with narrow odds and ends of airwaves that don’t expand the carrier’s portfolio any, but let it show a “5G” indicator for marketing purposes.
Why do DSS anyway? There are reasons to do it from a tech perspective. It pays off later in the game. It lets carriers more quickly achieve “standalone” 5G status where phones don’t have to attach to secondary 4G networks for coverage. That then activates new non-speed-related 5G features like super-low latency, network slicing for high reliability, and an increased number of devices per cell, which eliminates blocked connections. It also lets carriers manage their 4G-to-5G transitions much more easily than they could otherwise.
But most importantly, it lights up that icon.
We’ve contacted Verizon for comment and haven’t heard back yet. The new iPhones will launch at 1 p.m. ET on October 13.
Jittery Investors Sell Apple Stock, but Bulls Advise Buying Ahead of Supercycle – Barron's
shares are taking it on the chin Friday one day after the company reported a strong September quarter, but one which triggered just enough questions to give investors pause after the stock’s big 2020 run.
For the quarter, Apple (ticker: AAPL) reported revenue of $64.7 billion, up about 1% from a year ago and slightly ahead of the Wall Street consensus of $64.2 billion. Profits were 73 cents a share, two pennies ahead of consensus.
It was a down quarter for iPhone sales, as demand slowed ahead of the iPhone 12 launch, but Apple had substantial growth in almost every other category. Mac sales were $9 billion, up 29%. iPad sales were $6.8 billion, up 46%. Wearables increased 20.8%, to $7.9 billion. Services revenue was $14.5 billion, up 16.3%.
There are multiple factors weighing on the stock. For one, the 21% drop in iPhone sales, while not a big surprise, was a little worse than some analysts had modeled. Two, the 29% drop in Greater China sales was a little shocking and a reflection of the company’s lagging position in 5G phones in a key market. And three, Apple declined to give guidance for the third straight quarter, which really shouldn’t have surprised anyone but seemed to rattle some investors.
On the post-announcement call with investors, the company responded to all of those concerns. Without providing detail, it said iPhone 12 sales are off to a strong start—but it just started shipping the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, and won’t even start taking orders on the low-end iPhone 12 Mini or high end iPhone 12 Pro Max until next week.
On China, the company said it was hurt more there than other markets by the lack of 5G phones in the quarter, but a rebound is expected in the December quarter, and early demand for the new phones is promising.
As for guidance, Apple didn’t provide detail, but did say that iPhone sales would be up year over year in the holiday quarter despite only a partial quarter of iPhone 12 sales—and it expects double-digit growth in services and in all non-iPhone hardware categories in the quarter.
Citigroup’s Jim Suva adds two other logs onto the worry pile—a modest decline in gross margin and worries about potential regulatory oversight. On the guidance issue, he writes that he was “a bit surprised” that Apple didn’t give an outlook. On China, he writes that “China has a more advanced 5G network compared to many countries and simply put consumers want a 5G phone rather than a 4G phone.” On margins, he says the issue is mostly one of mix, with Macs and iPads carrying lower margins than iPhones and services. (It was a spectacular quarter for both Macs and iPads, remember.) And as for regulation, he sees headline risk, but no risk to fundamentals for at least the next 12 months.
Bottom line: He keeps his Buy rating and $125 target price.
Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who keeps a Market Perform rating on Apple shares, writes that the quarter was “solid, but not spectacular.” He finds it noteworthy that Apple didn’t provide explicit guidance. “The upshot is that we doubt that consensus EPS forecasts are likely to change materially, which we view as a likely disappointment given high investor expectations,” he writes.
Sacconaghi agrees that the key from here is iPhone 12 demand. “So how do we interpret Apple’s Q1 guidance/commentary, and what does it say about the iPhone 5 cycle?” he asks. “Unfortunately, it is likely too early to tell—and Apple itself legitimately does not appear to know, given very limited selling days and the unique timing of the iPhone launch. But the punchline is simple: iPhone revenues have to grow double digits year-over-year in fiscal Q1, or March needs to be dramatically stronger than seasonal for this cycle to have a shot of being the super cycle buyside investors appear to be anticipating.”
Katy Huberty came away from the call more bullish than ever. “All signs point to a supercycle,” she writes in a research note, repeating her Overweight rating and $136 price target. “We continue to see upside to fiscal 2021 estimates after Apple grew revenue double-digits across all products including iPhone after normalizing for [the iPhone] product cycle. iPhone growth will accelerate further on extended replacement cycles, more new [models] and aggressive subsidies.”
Huberty adds that her “confidence in Apple’s ability to retain existing users, attract new users and accelerate growth and profitability has never been higher as Apple enters fiscal 2021 with its strongest product and services portfolio in years and several tailwinds at its back, including the growing proliferation of 5G technology; work, learn and play from home demand; and rising adoption and monetization of digital services.”
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives likewise is undeterred in his bullish view. “Last night…the Street and the overall market was hoping for blow out results from FAANG tech stalwarts with Apple and
leading the way and ultimately came away disappointed with tech stocks selling off this morning on the news,” he writes. “Taking a step back, we believe Apple is on the cusp of its largest iPhone product cycle since iPhone 6 in 2014 and we would be buyers on any weakness.” He keeps his Outperform rating and $150 target.
Apple was off 4.9%, at $109.70, in recent trading. The
was down 1.3%.
Write to Eric J. Savitz at email@example.com
Samsung regains top smartphone vendor spot as Xiaomi overtakes Apple – The Verge
Samsung is back on top as the world’s biggest smartphone vendor one quarter after losing its spot to Huawei, according to reports from IDC, Counterpoint, and Canalys. The news comes just as Samsung posted its highest quarterly revenue figures ever, which the company said was helped by a boost in demand for smartphones.
Huawei became the number one vendor for the first time three months ago, benefiting from strong sales in China while much of the rest of the world was operating under constrained retail conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Huawei’s shipments fell 7 percent quarter-on-quarter and 24 percent year-on-year, according to Counterpoint, while Samsung’s shipments increased by 47 percent over the last quarter.
Xiaomi was able to regain the number three spot for the first time in several years, overtaking Apple for the first time with year-on-year growth of 46 percent. Apple’s shipments fell 7 percent year-on-year in the July-September quarter, no doubt affected by the fact that its new iPhones this year slipped until October and November release dates.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh spots go to BBK brands Oppo, Vivo, and Realme. Counterpoint has Oppo at number five, while IDC and Canalys give that spot to Vivo, but all three firms agree the numbers are close. If the three independent brands’ third-quarter shipments were combined, they would be closer to Samsung in first place than Huawei in second place.
MagSafe Wallet for iPhone 12 Now Available for Pickup at Select Apple Stores Internationally – MacRumors
Apple’s new Leather Wallet with MagSafe for iPhone 12 models is available for pickup today or tomorrow at select Apple Stores in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. We’ve yet to see any pickup availability in the United States or Canada, but we’ll update this story if that changes.
A few customers have started sharing photos of the Leather Wallet on Twitter after completing a pickup at an Apple Store today.
Photo shared by Leonard on Twitter
As noted by 9to5Mac, it also appears that some customers are beginning to see their online orders marked as shipped earlier than expected. Many of these customers are seeing an estimated delivery range of November 2-9.
Priced at $59 in the United States, the MagSafe Wallet is designed to magnetically attach to the back of iPhone 12 models, allowing customers to carry a few credit cards or IDs with their device. The wallet is designed with tanned European leather and is offered in four colors: Baltic Blue, California Poppy, Saddle Brown, and Black.
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