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What buyers should know about the latest iPhones

With iPhone preorders available on October 16, many consumers are unsure of the details surrounding the latest iPhones. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins The Final Round to break down what consumers should know about the latest iPhones.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITHA: Well, speaking of consumers and the holiday shopping season, one of the big ticket items this year is probably going to be Apple's new iPhones. Dan Howley, two of the new iPhone 12 models are available to preorder today. I guess the question to you, because there was so much hype going into this big unveil, how big of a success do you think this new lineup of phones is going to be?

DAN HOWLEY: Well, it's-- you know, like you said, there's been so much hype going into this. So it behooves Apple to, obviously, sell as much as possible. That's a given for anytime there's a launch. But they really need to knock it out of the ballpark this time round, just because of the high expectations that have been set for this new phone.

These are the first iPhones. The four of them, it's the first time that they're launching four, period, at once. But they're also the first iPhones to have 5G connectivity built in. That's obviously the major selling point going forward, in my opinion and I think the opinion of most people who follow the tech industry.

People are going to open up these phones. And any 5G phone, mind you, and be a little bit disappointed. Because the 5G connectivity isn't really there yet, as far as how the carriers are promised. You know, they've been hyping up the idea that we'll have these incredible speeds.

Sure, those are available to a degree on millimeter wave bands, but those can only reach a block, like literally a block, if you look at the maps of some of these carriers' coverage areas, it's a literal city block. And the others ride on existing 4G networks. And so they'll have 4G to better than 4G speeds, but it's not going to be the insanity that we've been promised yet.

So it's going to take some time for those networks to be built out. It's going to take some time for apps to take advantage of those networks to be built out. But I do think these phones do offer some impressive upgrades as far as the cameras go. In terms of low light functionality, they're supposed to be a lot better from the standard iPhone 12 to the iPhone 12 Pro as well.

And then they're also supposed to be more durable. There's a new kind of crystal style display that Apple says is 4 times more durable than the previous iPhone displays. And look, I drop my phone like a monster, and it hasn't cracked yet. So I can only imagine what this is going to be like.

So there are substantial updates, a new design. I think people are going to want to go out and get them. And if the 5G speeds aren't there quite yet, it means you're still setting yourself up to be ready when they are available. So don't be super disappointed because I'm telling you now, you're not getting that crazy 5G speed when you get it. It'll come eventually, though.

RICK NEWMAN: Hey, Dan, you and others have convinced me that I don't even need to think about this for at least a year. How long until it might be worth getting a 5G phone, and you'll actually notice that you can do new and cooler things on your phone?

DAN HOWLEY: It really comes down to-- so this is my thesis, is that the iPhone will be the catalyst that then sets up developers to go out and develop these apps that require or, you know, feed on 5G. Because developers like to develop for Apple and iOS because Apple users are more apt to spend on apps. Unlike Android users, they just don't spend as much as iOS users do.

So it kind of incentivizes these developers to function on the iOS level. And now that 5G is available for iOS-- it's been available for Android for a year or more now. But now that it's available for iOS, I think we're going to start to see more developers dive in and try to come up with new, interesting ways for their apps to function or for completely new types of apps that will take advantage of 5G.

And while that's going on, the carriers will continue to build out their networks to make them as ubiquitous as 4G LTE. None of the carriers have ubiquitous 5G network. T-Mobile has the largest, but again, that's not the high end 5G that we've all been promised. So I think, you know, figure two to three years we'll start to really see something.

And look, when 4G came out, it was big because at that point, it took, like, five minutes to load a web page on your phone, right? Now you can fire up your phone, get on 4G, and boom, you're going. I think with 5G, you're still going to be able to use 4G to load web pages, to download movies and music and stream things. So we're not seeing that insane level yet, but eventually we will see 5G apps that come out up in different sectors of the economy. It'll just take a little while.