5G is the next big thing for wireless networks, but it’s only worthwhile if phones support it. And while, technically, all four new iPhone models are said to support it, there may be limits.

According to a report today from Fast Company, Apple may have decided that only one of its new iPhone models should feature the fastest 5G connectivity option. mmWave 5G technology is the faster of the two 5G technologies available today, and this report says only the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 “Pro Max” will support it. This will be Apple’s largest iPhone model this year, and, unsurprisingly, the most expensive iPhone 12 variant.

The reason behind the decision? According to a source speaking with the publication, only the 6.7-inch iPhone is big enough to fit the hardware requirements inside. That includes a larger battery to offset the battery drain related to 5G connectivity. As well as antenna design, which needs to change for 5G.

The report goes on to say that faster mmWave 5G connectivity will also only be available in select markets. The United States will get support, as well as Japan and South Korea. Other countries don’t have the network rollout to warrant the faster network capabilities. That doesn’t mean the iPhone 12 Pro Max won’t launch in these other regions — it just won’t offer the faster mmWave 5G connectivity.

5G, in brief

So, briefly, here’s how the two 5G connectivities compare:

  • Sub-6: This refers to spectrum frequencies below the 6 GHz range. This 5G technology is the slower of the pair, but it is far reaching. This is how networks will rollout nationwide 5G technology, like T-Mobile. It is faster than 4G LTE connectivity, but slower than mmWave.
  • mmWave: Millimeter wave 5G technology is the faster of the two. It can reach speeds up to 1Gb/s, but it cannot reach as far or penetrate buildings as well as Sub-6. This technology will be available in more urban areas.

Questions remain

Now, nothing is set in stone just yet. We don’t actually know what Apple is planning. However, Fast Company‘s reporting certainly makes sense. Especially when we look at 5G rollouts across the globe, and whether or not Apple has to launch devices that don’t offer network capabilities just yet. Of course, one could argue that it would be future-proofing for those customers, as 5G network availability will continue to expand.

But then those customers wouldn’t need to upgrade!

In all seriousness, this report does fly in the face of a previous report from earlier this year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that all four models of the new iPhone 12 lineup will support the faster mmWave 5G technology. These handsets will also support the Sub-6 technology, too.

So it remains to be seen what will happen. Unfortunately, Apple is delaying the launch of the iPhone 12, so we will have to wait a bit longer than usual to see how it all shakes out.

Which iPhone 12 model are you planning to upgrade to this year?