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Apple to launch iPhone 12 in S. Korea earlier than usual: sources

SEOUL: Apple Inc. is expected to launch its new iPhone 12 series in South Korea earlier than its usual schedule, sources said Monday, as the U.S. tech titan targets to attract more 5G users here.

According to officials at local telecom operators, they are preparing to sell the iPhone 12 in late October or early November.

Apple has yet to confirm the release date of its latest smartphone. But foreign tech reviewers predicted that the iPhone 12 could be unveiled on Oct. 13 and go on sale Oct. 23 in select markets.

Usually, Apple has been releasing its new smartphones in South Korea about one month after it launched the first batch of products in select countries.

For instance, the iPhone 11 hit local shelves on Oct. 25 last year after the smartphone went on sale in the United States and other countries on Sept. 20.

Industry insiders said Apple is apparently looking to release its first 5G-supporting iPhone family in South Korea early since the country already offers various 5G services.

South Korea became the first country in the world to commercialize 5G telecommunications in April 2019. The country had nearly 8 million 5G users as of July, according to the science ministry data.

Apple is expected to release four models of the iPhone 12 — the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Among them, the iPhone 12 Pro Max reportedly supports the high-frequency 28GHz band for 5G communications. Since none of the 5G smartphones from Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. support the 28GHz band here, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be the first smartphone in South Korea to handle such a high-frequency signal.

But since local telecom operators have yet to fully establish equipment for the 28GHz band, industry insiders said it will be difficult for users to experience the speed of the high-frequency band.

Apple was the second-largest smartphone brand in South Korea with a 19 percent market share as of the second quarter, according to industry tracker Counterpoint Research, trailing far behind Samsung with a 67 percent market share.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.