Samsung talks up what’s coming next with 5G phones, while Mobile World Congress pulls the plug on this year’s conference. Plus what’s coming from Apple in the iPad Pro and iPhone SE, and more, all in five.
It’s the middle of February 2020 and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and if you didn’t know — because you might not — February is typically when we start to see the first mobile phones of the year roll on out.
It happens every year, and typically starts with Mobile World Congress, which we were due to fly out for next week. However this year, Mobile World Congress — also known as MWC — won’t be happening.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen phone companies pull out from what is arguably the world’s biggest phone conference, citing coronavirus concerns. That started with the likes of LG and ZTE, the latter of which makes phones for Telstra, among others, but we’ve seen plenty of companies pull out since. Sony, TCL, Ericsson, Facebook, Amazon, Intel, MediaTek, Vodafone, and Nokia all pulled out of Mobile World Congress due to concerns over the coronavirus, and that has since led to the organisation that runs the Mobile World Congress, the GSMA, to pull the plug on MWC this year.
And just like that, the 2020 Mobile World Congress was put on hold, with plans to come back next year in 2021.
Phone companies that were due to announce phones haven’t all said what their plans are, though some of the companies we’ve spoken to have said the late February announcements would likely be pushed back to March, meaning phone season starts a little later this year, thanks to the coronavirus.
It’s not the first time the novel coronavirus has affected mobile phones in its short lifespan, because while the virus has infected over thousands, it’s also making a dent on mobile phones, shutting down factories across China. This could affect when the next iPhone is launched, or even the new iPad Pro, which itself has seen a few rumours this week.
Basically, if you’re planning to buy an iPad Pro, you may want to put that on hold, as the rumour mill creeps up for Apple’s next pro-grade tablet, which is now over a year old and due for an update. Aside for a chip update, the rumours suggest three cameras on the back and the possibility of a backlit keyboard, with March targeted as the timeframe for when the next iPad Pro is announced. March 2020 is ten years since the first iPad was released, so it makes sense for Apple to launch a new iPad then, too.
There’s also the rumour of a new iPhone SE on the way, the SE2, basically reviving the iPhone 8 design of a regular sized phone, but with a lower price point. It could be targeting a March date, and it’s not the only new phone that is.
While Mobile World Congress won’t see the launch of new phones in the same way it typically has, Samsung used this week to announce four, with three main phones and one special phone.
The main phones are the Galaxy S20 range, made up of the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra, devices that range from 6.2 to 6.9 inches, and sport a new chip, bright and fast screens, and a good assortment of cameras.
There’s a minimum of three on board, and they’re all a little different from the cameras found on previous Galaxy phones. They jump between wide, standard, and close, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra gets closer and sports a massive 108 megapixel camera, making it the biggest of the bunch.
Samsung’s other neat trick in this phone range is the support for 5G, because there will be both 4G S20 models and 5G S20 models, allowing customers to work out what suits their price points best.
While the S20 Ultra is going to be the best of the bunch, and ranges between $2000 and $2300 depending on the version you go for, though there’s also another Samsung phone coming too, and it’s a foldable.
It’s the second of Samsung’s foldable phones, following on from the fold-up tablet-phone Galaxy Fold, which we saw last year. This year, it’s the Galaxy Z Flip, and like the new and upcoming Moto Razr, it’s a 6.7 inch phone that folds into a clamshell, closing shut.
Yes, it’s the second of this style that looks to be coming out this year, and it’s made with a foldable glass, something that is new for Samsung, as the Galaxy Fold was based on plastic.
We’re definitely intrigued by the Galaxy Z Flip, and not just because it’s a new phone, but because like the Moto Razr, a phone that folds smaller makes a lot of sense to us, especially in a world where big phones are now the norm. There’s also a small screen on the outside so you can check your messages, support for both a physical nanoSIM and a digital eSIM, and it might even be able to sit in place and work for video chats. Very cool.
Also cool are some last minute additions for kids at the end of the week, such as Spotify for Kids — which is now in Australia for Premium Family subscribers — and Apple’s Swift Playgrounds, which is now available for Mac, bringing the magic of coding to more kids. Now you don’t need an iPad to learn, and can do it with a Mac, which is handy.
What will next week bring? Well, probably not as many phones as we expected to launch, but we’ll find out then, and you will too, because you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup.
You can find a new episode of The Wrap every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech in five. Until then, have a great week and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.