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Only highest-end iPhone 12 may support millimeter-wave 5G

Only the highest-end iPhone 12 — likely to be dubbed the “iPhone 12 Pro Max” — will support millimeter-wave 5G, according to Fast Company.

All Apple’s iPhone 12 models will support the slower but more common Sub-6 type of 5G service, but only the largest (likely a 6.5-inch screen device) will support the fastest standard, the article adds. Why? Only the largest phone in the line has room inside for the special antenna design required for millimeter wave and larger battery needed to accommodate millimeter wave’s significant power draw. 

5G networks will use both low and high frequencies, but they’re supposed to offer their highest speeds on millimeter waves. Millimeter-wave spectrum is usually defined to include frequencies between 30GHz and 300GHz. But in the context of 5G, carriers and regulators have generally targeted frequencies between 24GHz and 90GHz.

As noted by arstechnica, Millimeter waves generally haven’t been used in cellular networks because they don’t travel far and are easily blocked by walls and other obstacles. 

So is The Information rumor accurate? The Sellers Research Group says that it is. If you live in a densely populated area, millimeter-wave 5G is useful. For others, not so much. Also, the infrastructure for 5G wireless networks needs to employ many more closely spaced base stations than earlier wireless networks, to support the shorter propagation distances of millimeter signals.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.