Believe it or not, I’ve spent the last several years preparing for Apple’s “Hi, Speed” media event, which will largely focus on officially introducing the first 5G iPhones. When I began studying 5G, there were no business or consumer 5G devices and zero 5G cellular towers, but plenty of excitement across multiple industries. 5G has been hyped as the basis of a fourth industrial revolution, the world’s most transformative wireless technology, and the engine behind unthinkably fast smartphones that will download anything in seconds.
But unless something changes between now and October 13, many people — perhaps even most — won’t enjoy truly transformative cellular experiences with the first 5G iPhones, at least for the immediate future. Whether you blame this on perplexing wireless carrier decisions or regulatory challenges, the reality is that after two years of network buildouts, early 5G iPhone customers may well see only modest benefits over