- Apple launched its 2020 line of new smartphones on Tuesday: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
- The big news for 2020 is 5G connectivity, which is a new cellular standard built into each of the new iPhones.
- “5G will bring a new level of performance for downloads and downloads, better quality video streaming, more responsive games, real-time interactivity and much more,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, during a streaming video presentation from Apple HQ.
- But with Apple’s recent ban on the online multiplayer blockbuster “Fortnite”, and its continued ban on game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia, key functionality in the latest iPhones will go largely unused.
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Apple on Tuesday afternoon launched four new iPhone models as part of the iPhone 12 lineup: the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
If you prefer a smaller smartphone, there’s the Mini. If you are a power user interested in the ability to shoot super high quality videos on a smartphone, there is the iPhone 12 Pro Max. And if you’re somewhere in the middle, there’s the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
Whatever new iPhone you get, there’s one standard that’s brand new out of all four: 5G cellular connectivity.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook described in a video presentation Tuesday afternoon, 5G on iPhone “will bring a new level of performance for downloads and downloads, better video streaming, more responsive games, real-time interactivity and more. ”It’s the big new iPhone feature this year.
So what does 5G actually do?
It improves upload and download speeds for anyone with the latest iPhones, as long as you are in a location with 5G wireless signals. In practice, this means that movies and TV shows will load a bit faster, directions can be found a bit faster, and generally speaking anything that depends on your phone’s cellular data will be a bit faster. faster than in the past.
More than anything else, there’s one aspect of iPhone usage that could be dramatically improved with 5G connectivity: gaming.
Not only does 5G allow faster game downloads, but it also enables smoother, low-latency online multiplayer gaming – a staple of modern smartphone games, thanks in large part to games like “Minecraft,” “Roblox” and “Fortnite”.
But “Fortnite” is banned on the iPhone due to an ongoing legal dispute between “Fortnite” maker Epic Games and Apple, so anyone who buys the latest iPhones won’t be able to enjoy what 5G connectivity can. do for their game.
As Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, said on stage at Apple’s iPhone 12 event, 5G connectivity on the new iPhones, “gives you very low latency, so experiences like gaming multiplayer make it seem like they are happening in near real time “- a feature that would be particularly significant in a game like” Fortnite “, with dozens of players interacting in real time in a shared online space.
Unfortunately, as Epic’s legal issues with Apple are ongoing, “Fortnite” is unlikely to return to the iPhone App Store anytime soon.
Likewise, emerging video game streaming services like the hugely popular Xbox Game Pass will not benefit from 5G connectivity on newer iPhones.
While Xbox Game Pass users would greatly benefit from faster internet speeds with lower latency, Apple refuses to allow Netflix-style game streaming services on the iPhone and iPad App Store.
The reason, said an Apple spokesperson in August, is that Apple is unable to review every game available through Game Pass.
“The App Store was created to be a safe and reliable place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider. “Before going to our store, all apps are screened against the same set of guidelines that aim to protect customers and provide a level playing field for developers.”
Because Microsoft does not submit every game in its streaming service to Apple’s review process, the app that provides access to those games is blocked for publication.
Microsoft’s service works like
or Spotify, subscribers with access to a built-in library. As such, submitting every game in this library to Apple’s review process is prohibitively expensive, Microsoft argues. It would also require that each of these games allow in-app purchases through Apple’s payment systems, and that each game be ranked in the App Store charts, among other features. Every developer would need a paid Apple developer account.
Since Apple allows services like Netflix and Spotify without reviewing every piece of content, why not allow a similar service for games? The difference comes down to the medium, according to Apple: Games are interactive, unlike music and movies, and there are consumer expectations in the App Store related to games.
Without the ability to make in-app payments through Apple, for example, and without App Store ratings, games from the Xbox Game Pass service work against consumer expectations for games from the. App Store, says Apple.
Microsoft could bypass those regulations, Xbox leader Phil Spencer recently told employees, via a browser-based solution on iOS. “We will absolutely end up on iOS with Game Pass,” he said. The company also publicly pushed back on Apple’s game streaming blockade.
“Apple is the only general-purpose platform to deny consumers cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement in August. “It consistently treats gaming applications differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming applications, even when they include interactive content.”
A similar video game streaming service offered by Google, named Google Stadia, has also encountered obstacles with the guidelines from Apple’s App Store. It is available on Android phones and tablets, but not on Apple devices.
Despite the new iPhone’s emphasis on faster-than-ever cellular data speeds, apps that would benefit the most from that speed aren’t allowed on the App Store. Without a change of mind and policy, Apple’s latest iPhone lineup misses a critical step into the future of gaming.
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