Apple’s newly-announced iPhone XS and XS Max might not support 5G but they do offer amazing 4G speeds thanks to new hardware.
Part of Tim Cook’s big announcement from Cupertino, California, was about the new hardware located within the iPhone.
And the good news is that both of this year’s XS models support up to gigabit speeds over 4G.
The key difference this year is that the iPhone XS and XS Max both have “cat 16” 4G support which allows downloads at speeds of 1024 Mbps and uploads at 150 Mbps.
Apple has suffered some criticism of its lack of support for the highest possible 4G speeds in the past year. However most 4G networks don’t deliver speeds fast enough to require it. Yet.
Last year’s iPhone X had “cat 12” 4G, which offers downloads at 600 Mbps and uploads of 150 Mbps.
While no UK operators support that sort of speed on their 4G networks currently we may well see speeds increase as the UK moves towards next-generation 5G services.
Currently EE’s 4G Max plan offers download speeds of up to 90 Mbps but that’s nowhere near the theoretical maximum possible of around 300 Mbps.
EE is currently testing 5G services and Vodafone has also announced plans for a trial.
New 5G services aren’t necessarily about making your download speeds faster either. Instead it’s aimed at making more devices internet connected and reducing the time it takes for data to travel from your phone to the internet – known as latency.
So it’s not a massive surprise that the new iPhones don’t have 5G as no other phones currently support the new standard.Huawei sub-brand Honor is working on a phone that it aims to launch in early 2019 that will offer 5G. There are rumours Samsung’s S10 will also support the standard when it launches in 2019.
It makes sense for Honor to be early with the tech as its parent company Huawei produces the hardware telecoms companies use to support new 5G services. Indeed EE’s early in-house trials of 5G were conducted using Huawei hardware.
Realistically we won’t actually see a full, nationwide 5G service from mobile networks until the end of 2019 at the earliest. That probably means that next year’s iPhones won’t support 5G either.