New iPhone 12 leak suggests only one specific model will get the fastest 5G

iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 (Image credit: Future)

If you want to get the best possible speeds out of 5G with an iPhone then you might have to buy the iPhone 12 Pro Max, as a source has claimed that the cheaper iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, and even iPhone 12 Pro will only support Sub-6 5G.

That’s according to “a wireless industry source” speaking to Fast Company, who said that only the largest and highest end iPhone 12 model (rumored to be called the iPhone 12 Pro Max) will support millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G.

That’s in addition to Sub-6, which as noted every model is rumored to support. The difference between these two forms of 5G is that mmWave 5G uses higher frequency radio spectrum, allowing for much higher speeds.

However, it doesn’t penetrate buildings and other obstacles as well as Sub-6, and it’s more expensive to deploy. As such, Sub-6 is more widespread, and is therefore arguably more useful for a phone to support if it’s only going to support one kind.

It’s worth noting that Verizon currently only offers mmWave 5G though, so the iPhone 12 Pro Max might be the only model that supports 5G at all on that network if this source is right.

Simply Sub-6

Additionally, they claimed that only the US, Japan, and South Korea will get mmWave versions of the iPhone 12 Pro Max at all – so if you live elsewhere you might be stuck with just Sub-6 whatever model you opt for.

That shouldn’t be a huge problem, since as noted Sub-6 is far more widely available. But it’s entirely possible that networks will start using mmWave more in future, which could make these iPhones less future-proofed than we’d like.

Of course, this is just a rumor for now, so we’d take it with a pinch of salt, especially as we’d previously heard that both the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max would support mmWave.

The source also claimed that a lower priced 4G model in the iPhone 12 range will launch during the first half of 2021, to act as a successor to the iPhone SE (2020). This too we’d take with a pinch of salt, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple started offering new budget models on a yearly basis.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.