The 5G iPhone hype is running dry and consumers have moved on, says analyst

Iphone 12 5g
(Image credit: Apple)

Despite carriers and phone companies marketing 5G as the next big thing, a new report claims that customers are losing faith and turning their attention to other features instead.

Apple added 5G support with the iPhone 12, and it's been a feature ever since. The company recently added 5G support to the new iPad as well, but it's thought that consumers are now more interested in battery life, storage, and other features.

To 5G, or not to 5G, that is the question.

The addition of 5G promised to allow people to do things with their iPhones that were impossible before. However, for many, 4G remains more than fast enough, and Chiew Le Xuan, an analyst at Canalys, tells The Financial Times that there are more important things now that consumers realize that 4G is "sufficient for everyday use."

The hype for 5G has dwindled, and demand has shifted to more practical aspects of smartphones such as battery life, storage, processor speed, and camera quality," the analyst says.

However, the report also notes that soaring inflation could be behind a lack of 5G growth while Asia is still expected to buck the trend in the coming years. But 5G support can still be spotty, with the fastest iteration almost non-existent for many.

William Hare, an analyst at tech research firm Omdia, says that despite the arrival of 5G, "an iPhone you buy today is basically no different to the smartphone you bought five years ago," before adding that "innovation has massively slowed down."

That might lean into the suggestion that phone buyers now look beyond 5G and towards other features instead. Longer-lasting batteries, better cameras, and more slick experiences were all part of the iPhone 14 lineup, with the iPhone 14 Pro, in particular, benefiting from something new to Apple's phones — a 48-megapixel camera and an Always-On Display. And if reports are correct, those Pro iPhones are selling the best as a result.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.