Do You Need a 5G iPhone? No, but You’re Getting One Anyway

Less than a month after its last hardware event, Apple held another one this week where it announced a slate of new iPhones. The standout feature of all four (4) phones is 5G capability. Apple, along with other phone manufacturers and network providers, are all touting 5G as the next big thing in wireless connection. But the rollout of 5G networks has also been hampered by a number of controversies, from technical problems to international diplomatic battles between the US and China. Despite the marketing hype, 5G might still be a long way from becoming useful.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior associate editor Julian Chokkattu and WIRED senior writer Will Knight join us to talk about these roadblocks and whether anyone will actually be able to use the 5G features on Apple’s new phones.

Show Notes

Read Will’s story about 5G in the iPhone 12 here. Check out everything Apple announced this week here. Read about all the new iPhones 12 here. Read Brian Barrett’s story about the return of the no-compromise small phone here.


Will recommends this AI-inspired artwork by artist Tom White. Julian recommends getting an espresso machine. WIRED’s guide best coffee machines is here, with best portable espresso machines here. Mike recommends Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. (You can watch them on HBO or via the Criterion Collection.) Lauren recommends the Gimlet Media podcast How To Save A Planet.

Will Knight can be found on Twitter @willknight. Julian Chokkattu is @JulianChokkattu. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

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