The iPhone 12 series is already driving 5G adoption in the US
Some new data reported by PCMag indicates that the iPhone 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, and 12 are already the three top-selling 5G phones in the US. That the phones are just four months old speaks to the continued popularity of the iPhone in the US and just how big of a role it will play in driving 5G adoption in this country.
These reports come from research firm M Science’s sales data and information gathered from Ookla Speedtest users. M Science tracks cumulative sales of 5G phones in the US. This data set includes sales as of the week of January 23rd and notably does not include Galaxy S21-series phones, which hadn’t started shipping at that point. These are third-party reports, so they should be taken with a grain of salt, but M Science’s findings line up with previous reports of strong 12 Pro Max sales out of the gate and less-good 12 mini sales.
Apple, as it is wont to do, took its time adding 5G to its phones. Samsung started in 2019 with the Galaxy S10 5G and added 5G across its S20 series in 2020. Outside of those two manufacturers, 5G has trickled down from a once-premium feature into the budget phone class more recently. Despite this growing range of options, adoption has been slow. Since Apple is responsible for a bit less than half of all mobile phone shipments in the US, it makes sense that a 5G iPhone would give adoption rates a nudge. So far, that seems to be the case.
In the US, 5G’s slow start certainly hasn’t been helped by a less-than-stellar product. While each major carrier offers nationwide 5G coverage, performance is often about the same as 4G — and sometimes even worse. That’ll change when more spectrum becomes available to the carriers later this year and into next, but not before a lot of new iPhone 12 owners (unfortunately?) experience 5G for themselves.